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News & Features Discussion  » General: Hiding the Game - Immersion

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58 posts found
  Vargur

Novice Member

Joined: 1/15/10
Posts: 142

2/05/12 2:59:29 PM#41

IMO, in most games more is less. That is why I am looking forward to TSW and its three quest (I think it is) cap. Going from LotRO where I spend most of my time running around delivering messages and killing critters should be a welcome change. That said, LotRO's epic quest line is great, but it is the traits grinds that are killing me.

Likewise, it is wonderful to drop into Mount and Blade from time to time, just to press left mousebutton to swing weapon and right mousebutton to block. No recycle time on Power Cleave attacks, etc. Simple, yet quite satisfying.

  Ozryn

Novice Member

Joined: 2/06/12
Posts: 3

2/06/12 12:20:09 AM#42

So glad to see there are people who feel like me and look for a more immersive experience.  I spoke about what an "immersion player" looks for recently at http://guildm8s.com/index.aspx?g=posts&m=1884&#post1884#post1884.

Glowing trails, things floating over npc's heads, contant insta-travel, excessive instancing.  MMO's have less "worldliness" than ever.

AAA titles are stuck in a WoW rut.  WoW made the MMO's before it more accessible to the masses - yet with increasing design toward accessibilty the feeling of a world "lived in" diminishes.

  Smokeysong

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/11/03
Posts: 232

2/06/12 1:34:32 AM#43

William I could hardly agree more; well said!


At least in WoW, and some other MMOGs, you can turn most of the UI stuff off. I use addons to help with that. I make my buttons as small as possible and put them off to the side. I turn off the quest tracker so it doesn't display on my screen. I make the character plates as small as possible. I make the chat pane small, too. I play on a bigger screen so I can view more world than UI (which only helps to a certain degree in WoW becaouse it doesn't scale up or down with resolution changes).


When (and if) I start playing again, I'm going to hide as much as I can. With one of the addons I use, I can bind keys to buttons and then hide them entirely, and make them click-thorugh, so there are no, or very few, buttons on my screen.


The problem remains, though. You can't turn of quest mob nameplates in WoW. Anything you might want or need to pick up off the ground is surrounded by sparkles so you can't miss it. Not only are there exclamation points and question marks over the heads of quest NPCs, they are HUGE.


The sad thing about the WoW developers though, is that they just don't get it. They have no clue what immersion is, and why some of us complain about these things. I've said before, and I'll say it again - WoW is a great MMOG but it isn't a(n) MMORPG, it just ruins any RP experience you might want.


This is all part of the "WoW is too easy" feel of the game. WoW's raids are challenging enough, but the devs think of them and only them when it comes to challenging content, and don't get that even most raid-heavy players spend most of their time outside of raids. It's that kind of play, what people do most of the time, that is in large part responsible for how people feel about the game.


WoW became the most popular MMOG in the western world for many reasons, and one of them was the fact that people didn't have to fool with things like how much weight they carried and going to town to change their coppers into gold. While that makes for a larger player base, it also makes for a less immersive game, and the WoW devs keep taking that concept one step further. It goes too far.


In a game that's been around a relatively long time, the player base turns largely into veteran players. It's hard enough to maintain a feeling of connection to a game when you are a seasoned pro, but it gets even harder when things are less immersive. WoW devs don't understand that at all, and if I go back to the game it's going to have to be something I learn to accept.


;)


Have played: Everquest, Asheron's Call, Horizons, Everquest2, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Darkfall

  Smokeysong

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/11/03
Posts: 232

2/06/12 1:55:27 AM#44

Originally posted by waynejr2

Immersion is a non-factor.  I always know I am sitting at a computer and not "IN A REAL WORLD".



 


And you, sir, are one of the reasons MMORPG player populations are so poor.


Let me say this, now that I've said that - my argument here is that MMORPGs are called "RPG"; that means, you pretend, to a certain extent, that you are a person in a universe that is different than the real world. There are a lot of people like you, and they enjoy playing MMOGs, but frankly I think should stay out of MMO"RP"Gs because they have no clue what they are about, and go around with "toon" names like "roflcopter" (how original - NOT).


It used to be game companies at least policed names and disallowed those that didn't fit the universe of the game, but now, they care about player base (cash flow) more than game quality to the point that they don't care about player names, or any other way one player might effect the immersion another might want.


I think games like WoW should stop pretending they are "MMORPGs", and call themselves "MMOGs". No one should expect to see any "RP" in WoW, they should expect that players think of their toons as like little chess pieces they move around in a game, or like FPS multiplayer toons. There are many players who don't care abut RP and don't care about immersion or even know what it is, and it's fine that they play in MMOGs, but there is no respect for my kind of game play and people like you even sneer at us for wanting something different - for wanting what used to be in MMORPGs. Because you sneer, I want you out of my game.


Have played: Everquest, Asheron's Call, Horizons, Everquest2, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Darkfall

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

2/06/12 1:57:29 AM#45
Originally posted by Smokeysong

Originally posted by waynejr2

Immersion is a non-factor.  I always know I am sitting at a computer and not "IN A REAL WORLD".



 

And you, sir, are one of the reasons MMORPG player populations are so poor.


Let me say this, now that I've said that - my argument here is that MMORPGs are called "RPG"; that means, you pretend, to a certain extent, that you are a person in a universe that is different than the real world. There are a lot of people like you, and they enjoy playing MMOGs, but frankly I think should stay out of MMO"RP"Gs because they have no clue what they are about, and go around with "toon" names like "roflcopter" (how original - NOT).


It used to be game companies at least policed names and disallowed those that didn't fit the universe of the game, but now, they care about player base (cash flow) more than game quality to the point that they don't care about player names, or any other way one player might effect the immersion another might want.


I think games like WoW should stop pretending they are "MMORPGs", and call themselves "MMOGs". No one should expect to see any "RP" in WoW, they should expect that players think of their toons as like little chess pieces they move around in a game, or like FPS multiplayer toons. There are many players who don't care abut RP and don't care about immersion or even know what it is, and it's fine that they play in MMOGs, but there is no respect for my kind of game play and people like you even sneer at us for wanting something different - for wanting what used to be in MMORPGs. Because you sneer, I want you out of my game.

lol.  Been a RPer since 1974.  lol.

Look, immersion is an excuse.

  DaddyDark

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/08/11
Posts: 138

2/06/12 2:14:39 AM#46

Originally posted by Ozryn

  I spoke about what an "immersion player" looks for recently at http://guildm8s.com/index.aspx?g=posts&m=1884&#post1884#post1884.



 


I would say that the post you are refering to is more about old school sandbox MMOs vs. the theme park ones. Though for me it is irrelevant of the immersion issues. Diablo 2 game was more of a theme parked experience, but it had the sense of immersion even replaying the same levels as the playing was SIMPLE and the levels were RANDOMISED, which gave you the sense of exploration even hitting same levels the 3rd time.   Nobody complained about UI. In WoW there are tons of abilities and the controlls/game system is difficult, which constantly breaks immersion by making you calculate the stats, watch your timers rather than playing the game; WoW instances are not randomised, they are small, the item drop tables are permanently bound to mobs and bosses - it is boring and have no sense of exploration. That's the issue... imagine the game as simple and highly randomised as Diablo but even better (completely random dungeons, ect.)... Also WoW bounds you to the level zones, I strongly believe that the whole world (or most of it) should be explorable right from the start and level 1 character should be weaker than max. leveled one no more than by 50%. 50% is a huge difference already, but in WoW and most WoW influenced  modern MMOs lvl 1 char is like 1000 times weaker than the max-leveled one. I love the GURPS rules, where all you get while adventuring are some traits and boosts to skills, maybe better armor,  but actually the totally green character can actually kill the one with the experience and gear as gear and aquired stats are responcible for like 50% of the total power maximum.  


  Ozryn

Novice Member

Joined: 2/06/12
Posts: 3

2/06/12 8:16:54 AM#47
Originally posted by DaddyDark

Originally posted by Ozryn

  I spoke about what an "immersion player" looks for recently at http://guildm8s.com/index.aspx?g=posts&m=1884&#post1884#post1884.



 

I would say that the post you are refering to is more about old school sandbox MMOs vs. the theme park ones. Though for me it is irrelevant of the immersion issues.

I think it is actually some of both.  Fear of death is an immersion aid.  

Open world travel without your direction blatantly spelled for you may be sandbox yet it is also immersion.  You are required to actually explore and discover.   Today's games are SO linear - they are on rails.  Even the zone layouts are designed in such a way as to direct players down obvious paths geographically, not only through glowing map icons, etc.

I agree, sandbox does not have to = immersion.  Yet there is quite a bit of overlap.

  Yanocchi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/07/07
Posts: 29

2/06/12 3:14:13 PM#48

UI is the least of the problems which hinder immersion in MMORPG games.


By definition, players shouldn't expect any serious immersion in mainstream MMORPGs. They exist for action, powergaming, achievements and some casual socializing. MMOG would be a better acronym for that type of games just as Smokeysong mentioned. It is more like entertainment for the masses in which individualism tends to drown and so does the immersion with it.  


So where can you find much deeper immersion in a MMORPG style game if you are a role-player? Unfortunately, the only place is the persistent worlds of NWN 1 and NWN 2. Fortunately, NWN 2 has become at least as good or even better than NWN 1 over time. Experience varies dramatically depending on where you play. I made a list of some things in the best worlds that help to increase immersion there.


 


1. People role-play and occasionally automatically receive RP exp just for writing elaborate role-playing sentences in chat. The algorithm is very smart and can distinguish role-playing chat from non-RP chat and there is not real way to abuse it.


2. There are rules that enforce character naming, certain PvP rules and some other features that increase immersion. For example, for the past six months I've been playing in a world where you must follow the dogma of the god you have chosen if your character is a cleric or a priest. This means that if you are a cleric or paladin of Helm, then you must make your character Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil, and you must choose Law, Strength or Protection as your canon deity domains if you are a cleric. You must also role-play a follower of Helm appropriately during your everyday gameplay and interaction with other people. If you don't follow those guidelines, you will loose support of your god and your divine spells will fizzle from that day forward.


3. Very deep immersion in role-play, perhaps because role-play can actually have a lot of actual impact or consequences on different things! In the Underdark people who play drow have grown accustomed to incorporating real D&D drow language in their role-play. Almost everyone who plays at least for a month or two with a drow, duergar, deep gnome or tanarukk in that particular world will know what words like Vendui, Aluve, Usstan, Dos, Rivvil, Ilythiiri, Jabruk, Jabress, Jaluk, Jalil etc. mean.  Usstan screus ulu telanth ilythiiri reiyal al gaer usstan. :) 


4. The ability to select and use a voice set with your character adds a lot to the immersion too in my opinion. It's always fun to hear a drow matron character shout 'Dal ultrinnan ulu el'insssrigg' (From battle to an inn.), a Stormlord of Talos say 'And the storm rages with me!' or an evil monk murmur with dead calmness 'The Silent Lord take you!'.


5. Although NWN PWs are projects made by enthusiasts with no commercial purpose, the quality of content and "customer service" is actually often even better than in mainstream commercial MMORPGs. You can get much more individual care and support from the developer team. In the best case scenario you can get things like your own tomb lair for your small vampire clan, a customised fortress for your guild or a sail ship for your pirate crew.  Another good thing resulting from the absence of commercial purpose is that real life money doesn't get you anything in the game and everybody has equal chances and opportunities.


6. NWN has very flexible toolset and game engine, allowing developers to add almost any kind of imagineable custom content into the game. During the last nine years I have seen and experienced more various features in NWN worlds than in any fantasy MMORPG or even many MMORPGs combined. One good example is an extremely elaborate horse mount system I saw on one server. You could choose from dozens of horses and horse armor, different types of food you could feed to your horse, a horse aging system, different ways to steal another player's horse or for the horse to disappear, a camping system taking the horse system into account nd so on. Other servers might incorporate some strategy game features or systems for werewolf or vampire gameplay.  The community has also created tons of graphics, objects, monsters and other content for the games.


6. Finally, one of the most important causes of immersion in NWN games is the Dungeon Master game client. It allows people who are selected by the developers to arrange events and quests for players. A dungeon master can teleport around the world in visible or completely invisible mode, take control of a monster, spawn NPCs or monsters, adjust monster's abilities and items, place objects and special/sound/environmental effects, give or take exp/gold/items, teleport players to different places including special maps and use many other special functions right there in the game. This has never been implemented in any MMORPG to date, which is understandeable because players would have to pay at least $50-100 monthly fees for a company to be able to maintain a dungeon master team catering to role-playing aspects of players and the world. This might be possible only in some kind of very exclusive luxury MMORPG, while NWN 1 and NWN 2 have always offered this aspect for free, based on talent, time and effort of RPG game enthusiasts.


7. It is important to note that otherwise multiplayer NWN 1 and NWN 2 work very much like mainstream MMORPG in terms of grinding, looting, static quests, item trading, auction systems etc. The character is saved on the server and you can keep playing with the same character for many years. Some servers might have character wipes sometimes, while others might run for many many years without any wipes. Developers spend a lot of time polishing game balance and many other things that commercial MMORPG developers work on, and beyond that. Actually, it is exactly like MMORPGs with the only difference that you have 10-70 players online at the same time instead of thousands. However, it is the first six things I mentioned that add immersion to the whole package.


 


I have been immersed in NWN 1 and NWN 2 for nine years now (since 2003) and it remains the only MMORPG style game that has kept me interested during all that time, while all other fantasy MMORPGS grow stale and utterly boring after a year or usually after a month or two.  


 


Let me show you one of the recent examples from NWN 2. The screenshot is from a quest in which I participated three days ago. It is part of a series of ongoing global events planned by the dungeon master team. It is a scene from a second act of a quest chain for Underdark dwellers which has so far involved at least 20 different players and 3-4dungeon masters on a persistent world that usually has 50-70 players online. The quests have involved some party adventuring but also large-scale battles of 10-15 players with or without 10-15 friendly NPC soldiers and units against hostile NPC forces. An alhoon (undead mind flayer lich) emerged and marched with his army on the drow city of Sshamath. A few days ago the heroes of Sshamath together with some Zhentarim allies from the surface defeated a mighty general of Alhoon's army but the campaign still continues and heroes haven't even seen the main villain yet. Meanwhile, two or three weeks ago in the world above the Underdark the kingdoms of Amn and Baldur's Gate waged a war of their own and as a result, the town of Beregost was razed and at the moment lies in ruins.


Drow heroes and Zhentarim mercenaries march out


Epic battle against an enemy general


Aftermath


Burning outposts


 


The world itself is not too static. For example, the kingdom of Baldur's Gate began repairing the main bridge a few months ago and now it is even possible to cross the bridge instead of taking a boat, but it is still a temporary narrow wooden bridge. Hopefully, after a month or two they will finally finish their construction project. Meanwhile, the Order of Radiant Hearts had built a chapter house with an orphanage in the farmlands of Baldur's Gate. I have heard through role-playing conversations that some children of parents who were killed during the war of Amn and Baldur's Gate have been placed in the orphanage. The Order of Radiant Heart is a player-run guild (they even had a guild horse but it escaped a week or two ago and was killed, rotting corpse remained near an inn for a week :D).


Bridge under construction


 


All in all, I think most hardcore NWN players would feel like Roy Batty when describing their NWN experiences to gamers who have been playing only mainstream fantasy MMORPGS: "I have seen things you people wouldn't believe..." :)


  FrostWyrm

Novice Member

Joined: 6/11/05
Posts: 1028

2/06/12 3:19:24 PM#49
Originally posted by Yanocchi

UI is the least of the problems which hinder immersion in MMORPG games.


By definition, players shouldn't expect any serious immersion in mainstream MMORPGs. They exist for action, powergaming, achievements and some casual socializing.

I stopped reading here. Seriously? "By definition"? Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, by definition exists for powergaming?

I'm curious, what was the first MMORPG you ever played and how long ago was it?

  Yanocchi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/07/07
Posts: 29

2/06/12 4:32:46 PM#50

Originally posted by FrostWyrm


Originally posted by Yanocchi


UI is the least of the problems which hinder immersion in MMORPG games.




By definition, players shouldn't expect any serious immersion in mainstream MMORPGs. They exist for action, powergaming, achievements and some casual socializing.



I stopped reading here. Seriously? "By definition"? Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, by definition exists for powergaming?


I'm curious, what was the first MMORPG you ever played and how long ago was it?



 


 


Sorry, my fault. The phrase "by definition" is supposed to convey some sarcasm about the fact that the gaming industry has defined the games as MMORPGs and many gamers feel that there is a lot of RP in them, while in reality  such games have very little RP content compared to much less known alternatives such as NWN. However, my text grew long and I forgot to make the sarcasm more explicit in the beginning of the post.


If you don't count text-based MUDs, my first experience of an online multiplayer game containing graphics was the alpha test of Meridian 59. It was developed in 1994-1996. Since then I have tried many different fantasy MMORPG games, wrote a few reviews about them 10-12 years ago for a gaming website, even contributed my own graphics for a project that developed into a well-known commercial fantasy MMORPG. I can say that I have been hopping from one MMORPG to another all that time, while NWN 1 and NWN 2 have remained a constant attraction for me over the past nine years and have offered the ultimate online role-playing gaming experience which easily surpasses anything mainstream fantasy MMORPGs have to offer.


 


 


  Yanocchi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/07/07
Posts: 29

2/06/12 4:56:13 PM#51

By the way, the scifi genre is a different story. There are certainly some scifi MMORPGs in which people have had serious and very immersive gameplay and role-play. When I played Face of Mankind in 2004-2006, I started the game as a patrolling police officer on the streets of New York, then got promoted to the rank of detective, later became a GIS agent, moved to the army corps' intelligence unit with the rest of ex-GIS agents when the agency was disbanded by the developers. We instigated some alien and government conspiracies and manipulated some other factions to start a war on Mars based on our rumours about aliens. It was a scifi MMORPG which didn't even have any NPCs or monsters to kill. All interaction took place between players, which made it a very immersive experience at least for a year or two while the game was still fresh and new to everyone.





 

  DaddyDark

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/08/11
Posts: 138

2/07/12 5:38:18 AM#52

Lots fo things are getting messed up there -)


1) Complex UI vs. easyUI/no UI. Has nothing to do with immersion - good example is roguelike RPG games like ADOM ect.: UI is difficult and awful, graphics are awful, but when you memorise all the controls - immersion is superb - for me it's like reading a book.


2) Sandbox vs. theme parked. Is a separate dimension. Diablo seies is a good example of rather theme-parked games with great immersion.


3) RPG vs. action type games. Another dimension irrelevant of immersion. We all played some 3d shooter game with great immersion, while no RPG elements (e.g. Half-Life).


I would say that IMMERSION have lots of things in common with ADVENTURE. It is no matter in what form you are getting it (a book, a film, 3 action-shooter, roguelike game or graphical RPG, MMO) - a good adventure is what makes you forget about your daily worries and feel like a part of the fantasy world. ADVENTURE is when lots of things happen around you, lots of events - like in Yanocchi's example with him making an interesting career in the FoM. It is about not knowing what you will face next.


Most SP games would achieve this the same way books and films do -  by throwing a good story at you, but this way is not acceptable for MMOs, since people will give it up after getting through the storyline. I can see only 2 alternatives:


1) RANDOMISATION - which is the case with roguelikes/diablo/daggerfall games. Ideally I would like to see the game with randomly generated instanced adventures, which you could take alone or with a group of friends - the bigger the party the harder the instance, the greater the probability of getting the best loot.


2) Player driven worlds. While offering the same thing randomisation does - unperedictedness, this is rather hard to manage and will often lead to experienced players abusing their power in PvP and PvE, which would usually lead to the small sect-like community of players.


  dnadestinyx

Novice Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 22

4/05/12 11:32:31 AM#53

I think Final Fantasy XI was a immersive experience.


It wasn't one of those games where you get everything done in a day.  Doing everything takes a lot of time, and even though that can be boring for impatient people, to me, it felt realistic, because in real life, you don't just teleport to places, zaps stuff, and get all the best gear you want in 2 seconds.


The field bosses were scary, though, and I'm talking about the wait time.  Hours on end and it dropped one piece of gear, that can be discouraging.  Still, I had a good time and I really felt like I was in the game more than just in the literal sense.


  Theocritus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3613

4/05/12 1:40:39 PM#54

     Immersion to me is being put in a world and having to figure things out for myself...The more hand holding there is, the less immersion there will be.

  Xiaoki

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 2438

4/05/12 3:05:30 PM#55

At the end of the day an MMORPG is still a video game. Video games are created for entertainment.


Immersion is great and I support immersion.


HOWEVER


immersion should never interfere with or take precedence over gameplay.


An MMO having a realistic day/night cycle would be awesome but if that MMO is terrible then no amount of immersion will save it.

  DarkPony

Steed of Tardcore

Joined: 8/29/08
Posts: 5637

Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.

4/05/12 3:15:36 PM#56

Nice column. Fully agree. Sadly an overly dominant UI and notifications aren't the only immersion killers lurking in modern day mmorpgs. I already beat these to death but yeah: lack of open, seamless world design, phasing, teleporting, lineair zone design, lack of interaction with the world and its contents (other than fighting mobs), loading screens, ... yada yada.


 


  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

4/05/12 3:18:18 PM#57
Originally posted by Xiaoki

At the end of the day an MMORPG is still a video game. Video games are created for entertainment.


Immersion is great and I support immersion.


HOWEVER


immersion should never interfere with or take precedence over gameplay.


An MMO having a realistic day/night cycle would be awesome but if that MMO is terrible then no amount of immersion will save it.

 

It would be better than an equally terrible MMO with no day/night cycle.
  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

4/05/12 3:26:06 PM#58
Originally posted by waynejr2

Immersion is a non-factor.  I always know I am sitting at a computer and not "IN A REAL WORLD".

 

I feel for you dude, I hope that one day you get it.
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