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

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115 posts found
  Goatgod76

Novice Member

Joined: 6/24/06
Posts: 1226

1/15/12 2:29:15 AM#61
Originally posted by Loke666
Originally posted by vanderghast
Originally posted by Loke666
 

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.

Yes you can. Make it easy enough so every player feels powerful and like a hero...then throw tons of shiney overpowered and visually ridiculous glowy weapons and armor at them and presto! Every person with ADD and a pulse will flock.

 

I have been playing Stronghold Kingdoms for 3 months now, which is a F2P MMO (So it calls itself)...and sadly...it is far more engaging than any MMO in the past 10 years. I mean, it has more of an MMO feel to it than these supposed MMO's do. Player interaction is critical, politics, strategy...and it doesn't give you big shiney rewards. About the only reward is retaining your lands and titles. But I keep playing. Why? It is engaging and isn't just an obvious  hamster wheel bent on keeping me playing on a linear path. The gameplay can go in MANY directions based on other players actions. That keeps it interesting to me. This just doesn't exist in MMO's...but needs to for them to survive IMO.

  User Deleted
1/15/12 2:32:00 AM#62
Originally posted by Comaf
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

If this doesn't soundly mostly like what ArcheAge has and is bringing to the table, then I don't know what else does.

  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

 
OP  1/15/12 2:41:14 AM#63
Originally posted by Goatgod76
Originally posted by Loke666

I don't play Wow either but you can't get that many players with a badly made game.

Yes you can. Make it easy enough so every player feels powerful and like a hero...then throw tons of shiney overpowered and visually ridiculous glowy weapons and armor at them and presto! Every person with ADD and a pulse will flock.

RIchard Bartle would agree:

http://gamification-research.org/2011/05/richard-bartle-on-gamification-too-much-of-a-good-thing/

Just because a lot of people play WoW does not mean it is a good game.  The vast majority of WoW players have never encountered a game with so much gamification- reward systems based on operant psychological conditioning, and therefore they fall prey to it easily.  One reason why they might not migrate to another WoW-like game is because they are starting to see through the mundane meaningless conditioning system that WoW used on them and they are unwilling to fall prey to another game in that same way.

That combined with WoW's marketing which was astronomical.  I have not seen as many commercials for every game combined as I did for WoW in the years after its release.  It was an investment that popped WoW into popular culture status.  Once 2 or more of your friends are playing it, you feel more obligated to try a social game.  That is why facebook is popular, because the more people that join the harder it becomes to avoid it.

 

 

Originally posted by NBlitz

If this doesn't soundly mostly like what ArcheAge has and is bringing to the table, then I don't know what else does.

+1  :D

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

  StoneRoses

Novice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 911

1/15/12 2:51:08 AM#64
Originally posted by WowMike2002
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam

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.. :-(

Those games where the first of it's kind, so it makes sense. It's like someone saying you prefer the Beattles over Oasis, or The Rolling Stones over Guns n Roses.

  Vhaln

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 3167

1/15/12 2:51:49 AM#65

I agree with a lot of what Raph has said about gaming, but here's something that nags at me, and over the years, I've gotten the impression that it might be somewhat common to developers.  They often seem out of touch with gamers, and like they're not really gamers themselves.  Or maybe more accurately, they're surprisingly casual?

"The post was prompted in part by hearing someone talk about Skyrim and how they stopped playing because they figured out how to max out some aspect of crafting and stacking bonuses or something."

I mean, what?  He hasn't even played Skyrim?  Or if he has, doesn't even know about the crafting issue?  Whether you play the game, or spend a minute or two in a Skyrim forum, it's kind of hard to miss, isn't it?  And what sort of gamer hasn't played Skyrim? 

When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  StoneRoses

Novice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 911

1/15/12 2:59:40 AM#66
Originally posted by wormywyrm
Originally posted by Goatgod76
Originally posted by Loke666

I don't play Wow either but you can't get that many players with a badly made game.

Yes you can. Make it easy enough so every player feels powerful and like a hero...then throw tons of shiney overpowered and visually ridiculous glowy weapons and armor at them and presto! Every person with ADD and a pulse will flock.

RIchard Bartle would agree:

http://gamification-research.org/2011/05/richard-bartle-on-gamification-too-much-of-a-good-thing/

Just because a lot of people play WoW does not mean it is a good game.  The vast majority of WoW players have never encountered a game with so much gamification- reward systems based on operant psychological conditioning, and therefore they fall prey to it easily.  One reason why they might not migrate to another WoW-like game is because they are starting to see through the mundane meaningless conditioning system that WoW used on them and they are unwilling to fall prey to another game in that same way.

That combined with WoW's marketing which was astronomical.  I have not seen as many commercials for every game combined as I did for WoW in the years after its release.  It was an investment that popped WoW into popular culture status.  Once 2 or more of your friends are playing it, you feel more obligated to try a social game.  That is why facebook is popular, because the more people that join the harder it becomes to avoid it.

 

 

Originally posted by NBlitz

If this doesn't soundly mostly like what ArcheAge has and is bringing to the table, then I don't know what else does.

+1  :D

Good or bad it really doesn't matter, Blizzard has been doing something right.

 

I believe TOR brought in another group of players that have never played an MMO. I've experiance this on several Heroic group quest using terms like CC, LOS, or Focus Fire. a lot of them seemed bemused completly unaware of what I was talking about.

 

  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

 
OP  1/15/12 3:10:17 AM#67
Originally posted by Vhaln

I agree with a lot of what Raph has said about gaming, but here's something that nags at me, and over the years, I've gotten the impression that it might be somewhat common to developers.  They often seem out of touch with gamers, and like they're not really gamers themselves.  Or maybe more accurately, they're surprisingly casual?

"The post was prompted in part by hearing someone talk about Skyrim and how they stopped playing because they figured out how to max out some aspect of crafting and stacking bonuses or something."

I mean, what?  He hasn't even played Skyrim?  Or if he has, doesn't even know about the crafting issue?  Whether you play the game, or spend a minute or two in a Skyrim forum, it's kind of hard to miss, isn't it?  And what sort of gamer hasn't played Skyrim? 

I've played Skyrim more than I have any other game in a few years now and I haven't noticed it.  I am not super into crafting, but I have spent a lot of times on the forums at the Skyrim Nexus website (mostly discussing mods).  What is the crafting issue?

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

  SpottyGekko

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2956

1/15/12 3:24:44 AM#68
Originally posted by Slowdoves
,<snip>

Good or bad it really doesn't matter, Blizzard has been doing something right.

 

<snip> 

By that logic, "games" like Farmville are the ultimate success then, given that they have 4 or 5 times more "regular players" than WoW, and make more profit than WoW...

 

Mass appeal does not translate into "high quality" automatically. If more than half of the people you know are playing WoW at any given moment, it becomes very hard to avoid constantly "going back", even if you don't really enjoy the game all that much anymore. For a great many people, WoW has become the default MMO, the go-to game when there's nothing better to do.

  Vhaln

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 3167

1/15/12 3:31:49 AM#69
Originally posted by wormywyrm

I've played Skyrim more than I have any other game in a few years now and I haven't noticed it.  I am not super into crafting, but I have spent a lot of times on the forums at the Skyrim Nexus website (mostly discussing mods).  What is the crafting issue?

 

 

 

Are you just asking to make a point? :p

 

Basically, its just seriously OP, and you don't even need to pay attention to the numbers.  You can simply be immersed in the game, doing smithing and enchanting.  They level up more easily than pretty much anything else, and end up being more effective than anything else, by a huge margin.  If you use enchanting to stack your crafting skills, you can end up one-shotting dragons.

 

I can see why it might not get discussed on the nexus forums, but it was all over Bethesda's forums for a while - haven't been there in a long time, or kept up do date on whether they've patched it or anything, though.

 

When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  Metentso

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/14/10
Posts: 1458

1/15/12 4:16:42 AM#70

It just takes one decent, not greedy and talented company to bring the dream back. It will happen sooner or later.

  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

 
OP  1/15/12 4:46:17 AM#71

Thats depressing.  I have no intention of doing the enchanting/smithing anytime soon but I have to admit I sorta wish I didn't know because I feel like it cheapens the game when I know the easy way out.

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

  SpottyGekko

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2956

1/15/12 5:17:17 AM#72
Originally posted by wormywyrm

Thats depressing.  I have no intention of doing the enchanting/smithing anytime soon but I have to admit I sorta wish I didn't know because I feel like it cheapens the game when I know the easy way out.

It's a design failing in Skyrim, sadly.

 

Once you have Enchanting at 100, you can enchant 4 pieces of armour with -25% mana usage each, which effectively means you can cast spells from 1 school of magic for zero mana. And the enchanting perk at 100 allows you to place 2 enchantments on each item, so you could have 2 magic schools at zero mana usage. Endless spells.

 

Combine that with the dual-cast stun perk from Destruction, and you can chain-stun any opponent to death by casting endless dual-cast fireballs at them. Doesn't matter how long it takes, you can never run out of mana...

 

A fine example of why MMO developers avoid "open" skill systems, the more complex they are, the greater the likelihood that some player will find an "unintended" outcome. And if it exists, somebody WILL find it :)

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7172

1/15/12 5:33:35 AM#73


Originally posted by SpottyGekko
 
A fine example of why MMO developers avoid "open" skill systems, the more complex they are, the greater the likelihood that some player will find an "unintended" outcome. And if it exists, somebody WILL find it :)

Nah, developers no longer make complex skill systems because people simply do not want them.

Skyrim is a prime example of that - they dumbed down/simplified everything they could.

It is just Bethesda is that bad when it comes to polish and "quality"... :-P

  User Deleted
1/15/12 6:12:13 AM#74
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by SpottyGekko
 
A fine example of why MMO developers avoid "open" skill systems, the more complex they are, the greater the likelihood that some player will find an "unintended" outcome. And if it exists, somebody WILL find it :)


 

Nah, developers no longer make complex skill systems because people simply do not want them.

Skyrim is a prime example of that - they dumbed down/simplified everything they could.

 

It is just Bethesda is that bad when it comes to polish and "quality"... :-P

 

I had to rethink my phrasing...   lol..  My "opinion" would be that is not entirely true.

 

Complex systems .. what you say is relative but I don't think its because people do not want them.    I think the perception is mass market does not want "complex" and that I agree with.

 

Who exactly do you see developing an MMO and saying "we have a target player base of 250,000 players."   As opposed to "we will make a profit of 500,000 but expect 2.5 million".

 

Actually on top of that... if you look at how certain "challenge" mechanics have changed from EQ to now.   I think at times I begin to feel like I'm playing a game intended for a console market.

 

MMO's the challenge at times was watching your aggro... understanding CC etc

 

Now its like... when this happens jump on that... run here... Its like Mario Brothers and why I had a computer instead of a nintendo...  (thinking back to the 80's).   I am not saying people who play these games and like them are bad or inferior.   I am simply saying the games *I* did play were changed to widen the market.   The change is what is driving me out of the market and relates (in my opinion) as to why complex systems went out as well.

 

Did I have an omega race cartridge for my C64?  sure... but that's not the main game type I was buying.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20150

1/15/12 9:45:24 AM#75
Originally posted by Amaranthar

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.

 

The point is that some immersion is good but it should not be too inconvenient and distracting from the game. Blizz is genius blending the two.
  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20150

1/15/12 9:50:27 AM#76
Originally posted by SpottyGekko
Originally posted by Slowdoves
,

Good or bad it really doesn't matter, Blizzard has been doing something right.

 

 

By that logic, "games" like Farmville are the ultimate success then, given that they have 4 or 5 times more "regular players" than WoW, and make more profit than WoW...

 

Mass appeal does not translate into "high quality" automatically. If more than half of the people you know are playing WoW at any given moment, it becomes very hard to avoid constantly "going back", even if you don't really enjoy the game all that much anymore. For a great many people, WoW has become the default MMO, the go-to game when there's nothing better to do.

 

Farmville is making more than wow? Reference?
  Amaranthar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2171

1/15/12 10:29:04 AM#77
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Amaranthar

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.

 

The point is that some immersion is good but it should not be too inconvenient and distracting from the game. Blizz is genius blending the two.

Blizzard was genius for it's time. There was this huge influx of new gamers who didn't have any real expectations. Now they are experienced and wanting "more".

Immersion can never be done too much. It's immersion that led to the success of the big sellers in single player games like GTA and Skyrim's series.

Once upon a time....

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

1/15/12 11:17:49 AM#78
Originally posted by dlld

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

Oh it's definitely detached from what your character actually does ingame.

Much like how I've done all sorts of things in tabletop RPGs that the miniature representing my character didn't act out.

But the point is these players are immersing themselves.  They're not relying on some the game to tell them exactly how to be immersed, just like they wouldn't rely on a D&D module to tell them exactly how the story goes.

Basically immersion is part attitude.

  SpottyGekko

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2956

1/15/12 12:30:41 PM#79
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by SpottyGekko
Originally posted by Slowdoves
,

Good or bad it really doesn't matter, Blizzard has been doing something right.

 

 

By that logic, "games" like Farmville are the ultimate success then, given that they have 4 or 5 times more "regular players" than WoW, and make more profit than WoW...

 

Mass appeal does not translate into "high quality" automatically. If more than half of the people you know are playing WoW at any given moment, it becomes very hard to avoid constantly "going back", even if you don't really enjoy the game all that much anymore. For a great many people, WoW has become the default MMO, the go-to game when there's nothing better to do.

 

Farmville is making more than wow? Reference?

No, of course not ;)

Not making more money, but possibly a far better ROI. Considering that WoW took 3 to 4 years to build, and Farmville most likely took 3 to 4 months.

 

But in December, Zynga's IPO valued them at more than EA, which is no mean feat, given that EA has been around the gaming market for over 25 years, compared to Zynga's 3 (?) years.

 

Activision/Blizzard earned $750M dollars nett in the third quarter of 2011 alone, and that number apparently excludes any revenue from MW3, and despite the ongoing drop in WoW subs. Revenue from the 4th quarter of 2011 might reach $900M with the added boost from MW3 sales. Their total revenue for 2011 may top $4 Billion dollars... 0.o

 

And people still wonder why developers want to emulate WoW ?

  dlld

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/31/08
Posts: 517

1/15/12 2:21:30 PM#80
Originally posted by Axehilt

Oh it's definitely detached from what your character actually does ingame.

Much like how I've done all sorts of things in tabletop RPGs that the miniature representing my character didn't act out.

But the point is these players are immersing themselves.  They're not relying on some the game to tell them exactly how to be immersed, just like they wouldn't rely on a D&D module to tell them exactly how the story goes.

Basically immersion is part attitude.

I think you misunderstand what I'm saying.

There is a difference between your characters representation not acting out something you did 100% and your representation acting out something you both did(playerwise) and didn't do(character wise).

You aren't really detached from your minature when playing a tabletop it's just there to help while raiding boss X ten times because the game essentially demands it to be playable beyond that point you have to detach yourself, this forced detachment is what I'm talking about, this should be removed as much as possible and definitely not have the mmo revolve around it. If you want immersion that is.

This is sort of like addiction come to think of it..

Some people have an addictive personality and can get addicted to non addictive things but there are actually addictive things.

In the same way some people have an "immersive personality" and can be immersed in things that are totally non immersive but there are actually immersive things.

I want an immersive thing(mmo). Maybe it's to much to ask.

 

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