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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » MMORPGs are no longer immersive (+ Raph Koster Article)

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115 posts found
  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7313

1/14/12 9:42:57 AM#41


Originally posted by Zekiah

IMO, most MMO companies these days are just after the quick box sales

Did you actually try to run the math behind your statement?

  Sanity888

Novice Member

Joined: 3/28/10
Posts: 183

1/14/12 9:46:05 AM#42

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a84y85jUutg

There, even WoW can be immersive.

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

1/14/12 10:01:44 AM#43
Originally posted by dlld

No skyrim didn't actually happen.. no game actually happens :P

I'm not saying immersion doesn't exist outside of mmo's.. i'm saying for an mmo to have immersion they have to have some level of RP and you can't rp if everyone is living in alternate realities while at the same time interacting with eachother, it makes no sense.

The quest system works great in singleplayer games because you are the only one doing the quest and you see the impacts etc IE immersive, you feel apart of the world.

Sure, but I'd question whether that ever truly existed in MMORPGs then, because every major MMORPG has always involved the majority of players playing it as a light game.

Can we even lament this as something "lost" if it never truly existed?

If we pretend that due to RP more immersion occurred in early MMORPGs, we must also accept that RP still occurs in every major MMORPG and those players become similarly immersed.  Certainly in all but the most hardcore RP MMORPGs (read: none of the major releases) the majority of players weren't/aren't RPing.

 

  vanderghast

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 218

1/14/12 10:15:35 AM#44
Originally posted by Bladestrom
Originally posted by nariusseldon

RK talks a lot. However, how many successful games does he really have? UO is eclipsed by EQ once EQ is out. I would chalk UO's mini success up to being the first one out of the gate.

I was in the beta and it was not that great a game.

Well does he mae sense to you or not, because that is what matters, not points scoring.

 

 

Whether he makes sense or not is irelevant.  What makes sense is that when he's handed the reigns of a game does he actually put all his lofty talk into practice or is he just ideas with no idea how to implement them?  I'd say the latter.  The guy has done nothing at all.  UO was a horrid game ran by PK's, it didn't work for anyone else really.  He made a star wars MMO that was about crafting and pokemon before adventure and the things that star wars was really about.  Star wars wasn't about crafting and running a shop out of your house it was about blowing things up, space combat, jedi etc.  Most of which wasn't even in at launch.  Was the crafting system in star wars deep?  yeah, but it had absolutely no place in a star wars games and a good designer would have seen that and designed his game around the subject matter rather than try and force in all your goofy ideas just to make a name for yourself.

 

Koster says interesting things sometimes but has no means or ability to implement them, he's a hack that should stick to writing and less to making games because frankly from his track record he really really sucks at making games.

  vanderghast

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 218

1/14/12 10:23:05 AM#45
Originally posted by Loke666

Wow success is really because it was a well made game. WAR, AoC and almost every game just like it have failed badly.

 

No, wow's success is because it is the right formula of just enough carrot and just enough stick and it was based on a very popular franchise.  Wow as a game is absolutely horrid just like most other MMO's.  MMO's are and have been mostly just a game of whack a mole since day one.  When fighting a normal mob in WoW does it matter in any way shape or form what abilities you hit and when to win?  nope.  you can literally faceroll through the vast majority of wow and you seriously want to say it's a good game?  Back in the days of EQ when it first came out, you had to CAREFULLY strategize how you fought a mob to win with most classes.  If you just randomly hit one of your eight spells you were going to die.  that's challenge and that makes a good game because it's actually interactive, you are actively participating not mindlessly playing whack a mole.

Nope, wow is like justin bieber or britney spears.  Their music is carefully written to have certain chord progressions, to avoid progressions that aren't easy to listen to, and to have catchy beats.  They aren't creative expressions of art, they are mass marketed carefully designed products to get people to buy the album and then once they quickly tire of it throw it away.   WoW is the same thing except instead of throwing it away, they carefully balance the carrot with the stick to keep you going as long as possible.

 

 

  Loke666

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16810

1/14/12 10:56:38 AM#46
Originally posted by vanderghast
Originally posted by Loke666

Wow success is really because it was a well made game. WAR, AoC and almost every game just like it have failed badly.

No, wow's success is because it is the right formula of just enough carrot and just enough stick and it was based on a very popular franchise.  Wow as a game is absolutely horrid just like most other MMO's.  MMO's are and have been mostly just a game of whack a mole since day one.  When fighting a normal mob in WoW does it matter in any way shape or form what abilities you hit and when to win?  nope.  you can literally faceroll through the vast majority of wow and you seriously want to say it's a good game?  Back in the days of EQ when it first came out, you had to CAREFULLY strategize how you fought a mob to win with most classes.  If you just randomly hit one of your eight spells you were going to die.  that's challenge and that makes a good game because it's actually interactive, you are actively participating not mindlessly playing whack a mole.

Nope, wow is like justin bieber or britney spears.  Their music is carefully written to have certain chord progressions, to avoid progressions that aren't easy to listen to, and to have catchy beats.  They aren't creative expressions of art, they are mass marketed carefully designed products to get people to buy the album and then once they quickly tire of it throw it away.   WoW is the same thing except instead of throwing it away, they carefully balance the carrot with the stick to keep you going as long as possible.

That sounds like well made to me. Blizzard decided what group to make the game for and made a well polished game for that.

I don't play Wow either but you can't get that many players with a badly made game. There are plenty of other games that tried the exact same thing but they werent as well made and failed.

A well made game is made for a particular group of players and have good programmers as well as a good system for that group.

Heck, even Spears are good on what she do or she would have stopped selling CDs when she got uglier. Bieber on the other hand plainly sucks and will be forgotten as soon as he looks fade.

I did not say Wow is the ultimate MMO or anything of the kind (and I am right now listening to Rob Zombie) but it does what it is supposed to do very good.

  User Deleted
1/14/12 11:14:12 AM#47

what's amazing to me is the number of people who are duped into thinking that it's okay to have no immersion because somehow it's the players fault which is the gist of what this guy is saying imo. Sorry our game didn't have enough immersion but you players didn't let us Devs put that in, sorry that there weren't ambient sounds, critters, or explorations but it's definitely the community's fault.

 

That's what i'm hearing but let me remind you people of a single word argument that wins everytime because it was the community that demanded this from their devs and their devs listened and delivered instead of playing the blame game or hiding after the launch. Skyrim. That is all.

  dlld

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/31/08
Posts: 518

1/14/12 11:25:50 AM#48
Originally posted by Axehilt
Originally posted by dlld

No skyrim didn't actually happen.. no game actually happens :P

I'm not saying immersion doesn't exist outside of mmo's.. i'm saying for an mmo to have immersion they have to have some level of RP and you can't rp if everyone is living in alternate realities while at the same time interacting with eachother, it makes no sense.

The quest system works great in singleplayer games because you are the only one doing the quest and you see the impacts etc IE immersive, you feel apart of the world.

Sure, but I'd question whether that ever truly existed in MMORPGs then, because every major MMORPG has always involved the majority of players playing it as a light game.

Can we even lament this as something "lost" if it never truly existed?

If we pretend that due to RP more immersion occurred in early MMORPGs, we must also accept that RP still occurs in every major MMORPG and those players become similarly immersed.  Certainly in all but the most hardcore RP MMORPGs (read: none of the major releases) the majority of players weren't/aren't RPing.

 

Personally I never played an mmo with immersion (started with wow), actually I didn't start rping until very recently when i bought NWN2 on the steam summersale and logged into a PW to check it out.. So I guess I'm not really lamenting something lost per se.

Some people might be able to RP despite these things but you'd have to make some mind tricks, if everyone you meet saved elwynn from hogger, killed vancleef etc etc up to deathwing at the moment how much is there to RP? The whole basis of RP is that everyone doesn't have an identical and/or contradictory story so that it can be combined into a larger unified one.

From a NWN2 PW perspective this is where DM's come in creating events storylines the players can partake and change the outcome of that happen that are not instanced everyone is in on it. Once it happened it happened just like real-life.

A player really doesn't have to do much RP for other players immersion not to be broken (IE mine), they don't necessarily have to create elaborate stories of why their character is the way they are etc  they can just be themselves and just keep acronyms and irl talk out of it and the rest comes naturally provided the world tries to be a world and not a singleplayer game put in an mmo setting "Damnit that guy just killed general bob now we have to wait for him to respawn"  "Looking for people to kill vancleef!, I would like to join, Sorry the group is full already" (and many more examples) doesn't fly well for immersion/rp. 

GW2's dynamic events will be brilliant in this sense if done right, which is if they necessarily need to have often repeating events make sure they are generic and logically can occur multiple times IE generic centaur attack not uber centaur lord of lords x show up everytime and is killed. In the cases of giant boss fights make the enemy retreat instead of die (something the shatterer does) possibly actually die forever server wise after a number of defeats if these events are only supposed to happen once a month they could easily expand and create a new event or even complete new chain to replace the old before that happens (say 10 defeats) and for servers that haven't defeated him 10 times he wouldn't disapear without being killed but actually needed to be defeated 10 times before the new event comes into play alternatively have them side by side altough not at the same time necessarily. I really hope this will ultimately replace the quest systems in MMO's it's so much more immersive and rp friendly. (Now put down those flamethrowers. I'm not saying GW2 will be the epitome of immersive/rpness I am fully aware it contains immersive breaking stuff too, just that the event system they have will be far better in that department then the quest system, it is a step forward for MMO's)

It's impossible to "escape" completely from immersion breaking at least not until we get something like true virtual reality/matrix technology but there is a difference between implementing  features which the game are completely based upon that utterly contradicts immersion in an mmo setting (like the quest system which virtually any themepark out at the moment has) and those that at least try to be immersive (such as the event system).

  Loke666

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16810

1/14/12 11:29:37 AM#49
Originally posted by itgrowls

what's amazing to me is the number of people who are duped into thinking that it's okay to have no immersion because somehow it's the players fault which is the gist of what this guy is saying imo. Sorry our game didn't have enough immersion but you players didn't let us Devs put that in, sorry that there weren't ambient sounds, critters, or explorations but it's definitely the community's fault.

That's what i'm hearing but let me remind you people of a single word argument that wins everytime because it was the community that demanded this from their devs and their devs listened and delivered instead of playing the blame game or hiding after the launch. Skyrim. That is all.

That is actually okay, what isn't okay is that all games lack it.

There is room for some Diablo games where you just go down a generic dungeon and kill stuff but there should also be some virtual worlds for us that want that.

People tend to blame Wow for the lack of diversity in the genre, but it is EA and activisions fault, not Wows.

  Amaranthar

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2171

1/14/12 11:57:47 AM#50

I always attributed a lot of WoW's success to it having a degree of immersion.

When you ride a Griffin and look down and see MOBs and players moving in what seems like a huge world below, when you dive under water and count down your breath timer and find stuff down there, when you stealth around something, when you plop the fishing line into the water, when you go out on a dock and wait for the ship and jump on and wait for it to start moving, lots of little things, it does feel immersive. But it was limited by the game's design to that degree only. And the second time through is when the quest system slaps you in the face that everything you've done, everyone else has repeated too, like an act in a play that you have no choice in the matter.

And when nothing changes, and you aren't even able to change what you do (mostly), and the world story is scripted and you as much as the world, well, that just kills the immersion.

Once upon a time....

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

1/14/12 12:00:31 PM#51
Originally posted by dlld

Some people might be able to RP despite these things but you'd have to make some mind tricks, if everyone you meet saved elwynn from hogger, killed vancleef etc etc up to deathwing at the moment how much is there to RP? The whole basis of RP is that everyone doesn't have an identical and/or contradictory story so that it can be combined into a larger unified one.

From a NWN2 PW perspective this is where DM's come in creating events storylines the players can partake and change the outcome of that happen that are not instanced everyone is in on it. Once it happened it happened just like real-life.

A player really doesn't have to do much RP for other players immersion not to be broken (IE mine), they don't necessarily have to create elaborate stories of why their character is the way they are etc  they can just be themselves and just keep acronyms and irl talk out of it and the rest comes naturally provided the world tries to be a world and not a singleplayer game put in an mmo setting "Damnit that guy just killed general bob now we have to wait for him to respawn"  "Looking for people to kill vancleef!, I would like to join, Sorry the group is full already" (and many more examples) doesn't fly well for immersion/rp. 

GW2's dynamic events will be brilliant in this sense if done right, which is if they necessarily need to have often repeating events make sure they are generic and logically can occur multiple times IE generic centaur attack not uber centaur lord of lords x show up everytime and is killed. In the cases of giant boss fights make the enemy retreat instead of die (something the shatterer does) possibly actually die forever server wise after a number of defeats if these events are only supposed to happen once a month they could easily expand and create a new event or even complete new chain to replace the old before that happens (say 10 defeats) and for servers that haven't defeated him 10 times he wouldn't disapear without being killed but actually needed to be defeated 10 times before the new event comes into play alternatively have them side by side altough not at the same time necessarily. I really hope this will ultimately replace the quest systems in MMO's it's so much more immersive and rp friendly. (Now put down those flamethrowers. I'm not saying GW2 will be the epitome of immersive/rpness I am fully aware it contains immersive breaking stuff too, just that the event system they have will be far better in that department then the quest system, it is a step forward for MMO's)

It's impossible to "escape" completely from immersion breaking at least not until we get something like true virtual reality/matrix technology but there is a difference between implementing  features which the game are completely based upon that utterly contradicts immersion in an mmo setting (like the quest system which virtually any themepark out at the moment has) and those that at least try to be immersive (such as the event system).

People RP in WOW all the time.  Join a RP server and at time you can't get away from the stuff.

It's question of attitude: if you're waiting for the game to provide the story, you're never going to have that immersive experience.  (Although I'd argue that games like ToR and Skyrim actually do provide this type of experience.  Each of my ToR characters has a personality of their own, which shows through in conversations.  This didn't occur in any prior MMORPG, with the weak exception of CoX.)

If you're willing to RP how RP is classically done -- by being part of the story and generating part of it yourself -- then there are plenty of those experiences around to be had.

I'm sure if you went on a WOW RP PVP server and mass emailed players with a cryptic, "All those loyal to the true blood of Onyxia, meet outside her lair at 9pm" you're going to have a bunch of players show up playing dragon cultists, and probably a bunch of goody two-shoes paladins showing up to stop them.

Sure it's possible to escape completely from immersion breaking factors.  We live in reality, guy.  When a dragon cultist explains that his wife has made dinner for him and he has to log off, that's life.  But the point is that's never been any different in MMORPGs.

  dlld

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/31/08
Posts: 518

1/14/12 1:11:24 PM#52
Originally posted by Axehilt

People RP in WOW all the time.  Join a RP server and at time you can't get away from the stuff.

It's question of attitude: if you're waiting for the game to provide the story, you're never going to have that immersive experience.  (Although I'd argue that games like ToR and Skyrim actually do provide this type of experience.  Each of my ToR characters has a personality of their own, which shows through in conversations.  This didn't occur in any prior MMORPG, with the weak exception of CoX.)

If you're willing to RP how RP is classically done -- by being part of the story and generating part of it yourself -- then there are plenty of those experiences around to be had.

I'm sure if you went on a WOW RP PVP server and mass emailed players with a cryptic, "All those loyal to the true blood of Onyxia, meet outside her lair at 9pm" you're going to have a bunch of players show up playing dragon cultists, and probably a bunch of goody two-shoes paladins showing up to stop them.

It's possible to RP anywhere at anytime really, doesn't mean it's RP friendly though IE pnp you have virtually nothing besides a possible somewhat detailed map of the place you are in and some rough miniatures of the characters/monsters most of the RP occurs in your head but it works because there's nothing obvious pulling you out from the made up world constantly with illogical game nonsense, the DM doesn't go "jack the barbarian just killed general bob you have to wait 5 rounds before he respawns". Basically the more RP friendly the less the players have to make up excuses/explanations for things that makes no sense(either due to flawed/bad design or limited technically).

I'd imagine the RP that occurs on wow servers are for the most part more or less completely detached from what your character actually does ingame.. could as well RP in a irc chat room really. *walks into bar* "Hey X what did you do today?" "Oh I killed Onyxia with my guild mates for the fifth time" "Oh? I did the same!" *highfive*  .... wat

 

  s4nder

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/20/05
Posts: 87

1/14/12 3:45:12 PM#53
Originally posted by Loke666

As for Diablo we are talking about a different kind of game for a different player. And frankly didn't Diablo 1 and 2 really sell that much compared to Wow or even Guildwars, Diablo sold 2 million copies and Diablo 2 4 million. It is still impressive but compared to Wow it is nothing, and you are comparing apples and oranges.

Diablo and Diablo 2 combined have sold 17 million copies so it is absolutely comparable to MMO numbers. The Battlechest was seen in top10 lists as late as 2008. They still keep selling.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17530

1/14/12 3:58:05 PM#54
Originally posted by wormywyrm

In my opinion, what it really comes down to is the industry selling out.  The people in charge of these companies are gamers (like Smedley of SoE), and once contributed to quality immersive games.  Now they squabble to follow mainstream market trends and copy previous successes to a T.

You know, if people were to actually pay attention to history, not just history of countries or of a people but the history of our relationship to what we create, none of this would be news.

This is a dance that has already been done too many times to count.

things get created, things get attention and adopted, if it's good then more people become interested and that thing then evolves to reach more people.

Then you have a popular version of the thing and some niche version of the thing.

As my mother said of the first time she heard a rock album "I thought it was a joke record. Then I listened a bit and realized I liked it".

Bam! Rock N' Roll started having a following. Don't you think that there were people who were horrified at the bastardization of music with the new rock craze? How musicians were "selling out"?

This has happened before, it happens now and it will continue to happen.

  Whiskey_Sam

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/13/12
Posts: 275

Nemo me impune lacessit.

1/14/12 10:35:38 PM#55

Interesting read.  I think immersion is still around (Skyrim is great for this), but I don't get immersion in modern MMOs.  When was the last AAA MMO to be designed as a living world?  It's not an emphasis when they're making themeparks that lead you by the nose from quest hub to quest hub.  I'm still looking for an MMO that allows the freedom to make the character I want instead of making the character the dev wants.

___________________________
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  NaughtyP

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/11
Posts: 795

1/15/12 12:07:35 AM#56

Immersion... it still exists for me, just harder to find in games than it used to be. Being able to impact the world in most games is rare. Without the ability to direct the game in some way, it is really hard to find that connection to it and get that feeling.

Enter a whole new realm of challenge and adventure.

  WowMike2002

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 20

1/15/12 12:21:05 AM#57
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam

Interesting read.  I think immersion is still around (Skyrim is great for this), but I don't get immersion in modern MMOs.  When was the last AAA MMO to be designed as a living world?  It's not an emphasis when they're making themeparks that lead you by the nose from quest hub to quest hub.  I'm still looking for an MMO that allows the freedom to make the character I want instead of making the character the dev wants.

Although, you can't really quote Immersion, Skyrim, AND MMO in the same sentence.  If a single player game had no immersion, ESPECIALLY as an RPG - then it wouldnt ever sell.

 

 

 

In terms of MMO's, the old school original games were the king of immersion.  Nowadays, its all about grinding out as many quests as you can before you log out.   Back in the day, you actually changed things, because developers actually had a team of people willing to adjust the world depending on player actions.   As it stands now.. the most immersion in any MMO I have played in the last decade falls to SW:TOR's storyline quests.. you actually feel awesome doing thigns in it.   BUT, there is no change in anythign else, other then jsut beating the storyline.   I miss game changing massive global quests.. :-(

  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

 
OP  1/15/12 12:39:52 AM#58

I haven't been able to read the newer comments on this thread or this new article by Koster, but I thought I'd put a link to it up:

http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/01/14/faq-on-the-immersion-post/#more-4027

Looks like he added another article to respond to some questions being brought up about his first...  Including the comment about Skyrim that someone had on this thread.  :-)  Here is a bit of it:

 

By immersion, I meant the sense of playing a game without ever getting its mechanics rubbed in your face. In the past I have said that there are two core abilities a designer needs to have: to be able to strip away all the surface and only see the math and systems; and to do the exact opposite, and only see the surfaces, the fantasy of it.
 
These are also two ways to play a game. You can come to it as purely a math puzzle to solve, or you can come at it as an experience. And ironically, with all the advances we have made in terms of presentation, it feels like more and more games are less about the experience and more about the acronyms and mechanics.
 

 

Maybe I am too much of a Koster fanboy, because I was predicting in my head his responses to each FAQ as I read them.  :p

 

Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  Bjordion

Novice Member

Joined: 9/30/11
Posts: 10

1/15/12 2:16:09 AM#59
Originally posted by nariusseldon

I agree with the fact that immersion is no longer a virtue but i disagree with the reasons.

I think many like Raph loses sight that games are just entertainment products. Immerision is all good if that adds to the enjoyment of the game.

 

 

I could not possibly and respectfully disagree more.  You do make excellent points on what the core values of an entertaining product are, but to Raph games have devolved into entertainment products.  In his golden years of development they were works of art, and it is this loss of the appreciation and necessity of the art of immersion that he mourns.  He, and others of his kind, are artists in the game development arena.  When they set out to make games, what they have in mind isn't driven whatsoever by commercialism but rather by the innately human tendency to create.  Living, breathing, vibrant worlds are birthed by their minds and written into code as best as technologically possible.  They did not trail blaze in the gaming industry for the money.  In the beginning there was no money.  They did it for the love of what they were doing, for the ability to create what was art to them (and is to so many of us).  

 

It is exactly the same as a novelist.  You have your cheap thrills mystery, sci-fi, romance/smut and horror books that are penned and shipped out by the truck load in very rapid order.  Their sole value lies in the quick "fix" they provide the consumer.  99% of what they contain will never, ever be read a second time.  This is not art, this is entertainment and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  It serves its purpose admirably, and this type of entertainment is common across all media types.

 

The flip side of this coin is a product of such depth, purpose and desire that only a true artist that has dared to begin to dream can ever hope to bring this dream to life and make it a reality.  Shakespeare was an artist.  Michaelangelo was an artist.  To this day we still can lose ourselves in their works, and that is why immersion is a virtue of art, even within the gaming industry.  Immersion has no place in most games nowadays because it does not add zeroes to the bottom line of a product's profit potential.  

 

Right now the majority of people in technologically advanced countries are still very immature in their selection of games because they've only just begun to expose themselves to the online world that we, the mature old school gamers, have been a part of for the past 20+ years.  Bored mid-30's housewives are now farmville champions.  They are getting their fix.  When the now 10 year olds that are growing up with Wi and XBOX Live mature into young adults, their taste in games will also mature.  They will start looking for games with greater substance and longevity.  And when that happens, the market will shift with them and immersion will be one of the necessary building blocks of any successful game.  

 

The industry will have to get worse before it gets better.  Strap in for the long haul and keep looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

I has a crayon

  Comaf

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/13/10
Posts: 1143

I want an mmorpg where pvp matters, my enemies are not my race or class, and community matters.

1/15/12 2:22:56 AM#60
Originally posted by wormywyrm

I just came across a recent artcie by Raph Koster, known for his work in MUDs, UO, and SWG.  It is about immersion, what it is, and how developers have lost video games immersion in exchange for a wider audience.

"Is immersion a core game virtue?" - Raph Koster (LINK)

Games didn’t start out immersive. Nobody was getting sucked into the world of Mancala or the intricate world building of Go. Oh, people could be mesmerized, certainly, or in a state of flow whilst playing. But they were not immersed in the sense of being transported to another world. For that we had books.    

...   Things that we once considered essential to games drift in and out of fashion. And I think immersion is one of those.
 
Immersion does not make a lot of sense in a mobile, interruptible world. It comes from spending hours at something. An the fact is that as games go mainstream, they are played in small bites far more often than they are played in long solo sessions. The market adapts — this reaches more people, so the budgets divert, the publishers’ attention diverts, the developers’ creative attention diverts.    ...

I thought that the article was incredibly insightful and and chilling.  It really does describe the current climate of MMOs and the way that things have changed from making virtual worlds that players can lose themselves in into making quick cash.  It probably started in 2002 and 2003, when MEO was cancelled to be replaced by the linear LOTRO and WoW was released.  And of course in 2004 when SWG was changed to be more mainstream.

In my opinion, what it really comes down to is the industry selling out.  The people in charge of these companies are gamers (like Smedley of SoE), and once contributed to quality immersive games.  Now they squabble to follow mainstream market trends and copy previous successes to a T.

 

Heres something interesting that reveals some of Raph's feelings about the direction his industry has gone in:

I mourn. I mourn the gradual loss of deep immersion and the trappings of geekery that I love. I see the ways in which the worlds I once dove into headlong have become incredibly expensive endeavors, movies-with-button-presses far more invested in telling me their story, rather than letting me tell my own.

 I really feel sorry for him...  I have always been a game designer at heart and now I am very glad that I am going to optometry school instead of attempting to participate in the game industry.  I often wonder why it has been so long since Raph has worked on  a AAA mmorpg; he could probably get a decent job as a designer; he has a ton of experience.  And I think I understand now that he is unwilling to sell out the way other MUD/game designers have.

 

UPDATE:  Koster has added another article on his site on the same topic:

http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/01/14/faq-on-the-immersion-post/#more-4027

I miss player and guild housing. 

 

I want to build ships, castles, walls, fortifications, towers, etc. 

 

I want to affect the land and make real change in the mmorpg environment I play in. 

 

I want my enemies to not be mirrors of my character. 

 

I want to see enemies on a battlefield that look different than I do.  If I'm an elf I don't want to fight elves I want to fight orcs, trolls, goblins. 

 

I don't just want one enemy realm I want 2, so that if one gets too big the third realm can act as a wild card and make everyone look over their shoulders. 

 

I don't want pvp to be instanced zones by which people just sit around a major city and spam a LF BG key. 

 

I want more mob grind than questing so it forces players to group to wipe out packs of mobs. 

 

I want territory to defend and take, and I want my guild's victories to be seen in my realm.  No ladder rankings, no arena teams - just good old fashioned medieval warfare.

 

/dream on

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