|10 posts found|
He who fights and runs away... misses out on the loot
OP 5/08/12 5:39:58 AM#1
From SWTOR's storyline them, to GW2s trinity breaking mechanism, to numerous other games such as D3 that are heralded by fans as ground breaking and will change the face of the MMO world are a myth. That's not to say that innovation is dead. In fact I see nudges in certain directions from many games. While everryone can point to some game in the distant and not so distant path that did it first, there are games that have the pull that actually make the community take up and notice.
SWTOR and it's storyline driven gameplay. Many have said in one form or another that this was gonna have a huge impact on future MMOs. I don't think so. I believe it may have some impact, depending on the success of the format, and even if it isn't totally successful, developers might take inspiration from something that it provided that they might use. People often take inspiration from something that isn't totally successful, but might have potential iff ttweaked.
GW2 and it's trinityless society. Definitely something that people are keeping an eye one. Will this be the death knell of the trinity. I hardly think so. Like my belief in the case of SWTOR, may nudge the future of MMOs one way or another.
Just like most evolutions are concerned, they creep up on you, and the next thing you know, you are in a new era. It isn't until years after the revolution has take place that people come up and say that this is the time when things changed. it's very rare for something like the rise of something like the cell phone or some other innovation that completely takes the world by storm.
Is 'nudging' bad. absolutely not. It bridges the gap between older gamers and newer games to find common ground where they can enjoy MMOs at the same time, while slowly transitioning to a new model.
Hail to the nudge. You are the future. Not the 'game changer'
They are coming for you!
5/08/12 7:42:10 AM#2
Very well put. Nice post.
I think an important thing for people to consider is the amount of time it takes to make an mmo.
The huge titles, such as TOR or GW2 like you mentioned, take many years to create. I think TESO might be another good example. By all indications the beginnings of that game were 4-5 years ago.
Five year ago, these games were being conceptualized. What was true then is not necessarily true now.
Because of these long development times, it takes a long time for developers to iterate. Other genres aren't as limited in this sense. Look at the call of duty series. They are able to iterate quickly because of their developer rotation, but also the games take far less time to create. Tools such as the Unreal engine also help Fps companies create games faster than an mmo dev.
Compare the evolution of MMOs to genetic evolution. Lessons learned in development can resemble natural selection. Mistakes often take a long time to show themselves.
Using SWTOR as an example, developers that are just starting an mmo today can learn many lessons from Bioware, however a game that's been in development for 3 or 4 years doesn't have that luxury. What they have to go on is what happened a few years ago.
Zenimax, for example, couldn't know how SWTOR was going to be received. For better or worse they are stuck in the path they have chosen.
Players are looking at TESO and saying "not another SWTOR!" and "why would they use hero engine after SWTOR!" and things like that. But it's already far to late for SWTOR to impact TESO in any significant way. It is what it is at this point and there is no going back.
I think that this year is going to be huge for the future of the genre, we just won't see it for another five years or so. Developers right now are looking at these games and seeing what works and what doesn't. Other games like Tera, Firefall, Planetside 2, and TSW will also have influence on that.
My question is this, what happens in five years? Is this going to repeat itself? Are 2017's games going to be just as far behind players' expectations?
5/08/12 7:50:23 AM#3
To extend my statement there, I'd also like to point out that today's games probably learned most of their lessons from Warhammer, AoC, Lotro, Aion, and other games around that time.
If you compare them to those games, it's clear that they are a huge step forward for the most part, and you can kind of see where they have iterated on those designs and fixed some of their flaws.
Look how GW and Rift refined Warhammer's public quest system. Compare TOR's take on storytelling to Lotro's. I see the connections between that generation of games and this current one.
Imagine what devs are learning from the 2011/2012 releases. 2017ish could be a very exciting time for the genre.
Steed of Tardcore
Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.
5/08/12 8:09:50 AM#4
Problem is that not all nudges are in the right direction. Same with your evolution analogy. Evolution isn't moving in the right direction at all times either:
Popular themepark mmorpg's are a bit like Panda's; all bears are omnivores and not picky regarding their source of food, this makes them great, flexible survivors.
But not the panda.
It once lived in a time and place with an abundance of specific types of bamboo and said "Screw them other sources of food. Only gonna eat bamboo all day and sleep when I am not hungry lol!"
Despite bamboo being a very nutritient poor food source there was no problem because there was so much of it anyway and they could eat tens of kilos each day ... until bamboo forests started to disappear and mister Panda became almost extinct. V_V
i.e. being so dependent on one kind of player base / food makes you vulnerable.
Also sometimes change isn't brought by a nudge but by a distinct revolution / shocking circumstances. Personally I feel it just takes a single, overwhelmingly popular game to accomplish that. (Which game that will be is anyone's guess).
5/08/12 8:45:51 AM#5
Originally posted by DarkPony
I agree with you, but this is why I think the evolution analogy fits.
Not everything has to go in the right direction for it to make a difference.
Lets take a look at one issue MMO's had in the past, not even a design issue necessarily. Think of all the terrible bad launches MMO's have had over the years, technically speaking. I'm using this example because it doesn't necessarily reflect a specific gameplay design philosophy that we could argue about all day. This is something that affects all mmo's regardless of what type of game systems they employ.
MMO launches have traditionally been known for huge technical problems at launch. Not all of them, but a large number of them in the past were unable to solve these problems. Servers crashing, game crashing, huge lag fests, gamebreaking bugs, loads of missing/non working content, etc. There are a thousand technical reasons why this stuff happened, but it did.
Now, companies realized that this was hurting them and couldn't go on forever. In the past few years they have begun to innovate in this area. Rift's advanced server technolgy and SWTOR's instancing are two things that have gone a long way to creating stable launches, at least from a server standpoint. Server capacity has probably also improved over time. Early access head start processes have helped too. Again, Rift and SWTOR are good examples of this.
Now, these companies have been able to create pretty good launch environments (compared to many past releases), and provide a stable playable product to their players on day one. They knew this was costing them money and harming their appearance to customers.
So they've addressed some of these technical issues, but they are still missing a pretty big piece of the puzzle. A common problem still faced by these games, and one that has been faced by many mmo's is that of opening up too many servers to accomodate the massive launches, only to see poorly populated servers within months. We've all seen it with almost every game to be released. Server merges are hailed as the failure of a game. They scare investors and damage communities. In this sense, part of the solution to creating a stable launch was a step in the wrong direction as you put it.
So the next wave of MMO's has learned some tricks from these guys on how to handle the stability problem, however someone still needs to solve the dead server issue. SWTOR and Rift and other games may have shown the industry how to create a stable product at launch, but a large part of that is due to the opening of way to many servers relative to what their stable post launch population is going to be. Both games I mentioned have very obviously faced this issue.
Someone needs to come along and say "Ok, that staggered launch thing Bioware did worked really well, and Rift provided very polished software with very robust server technology. We can use things like that but we have got to put a stop to this server merge business." While both companies were unable to solve that issue, they have provided useful information for future developers. There are lessons to be learned. As far as the server merge issue, I don't think there is a better example of how damaging that can be to your games image than SWTOR, and they haven't even merged servers yet.
In this sense, I believe Bioware definitely moved in the wrong direction in this area, but there is still much to be learned from their mistakes. They simply weren't capable of solving the problem. I don't think anyone really has been.
From a gameplay or design perspective, mistakes can also teach future developers. This is why the evolution comparison is apt in my opinion.
Companies have figured out how to make a really stable launch, when previous developers have failed. They are still making big mistakes though and moving in the wrong direction by opening up way to many servers and later having to merge them or sitting on a bunch of dead servers. They are making it apparant to future companies that this process is very unwise and damaging to their games in several ways.
Someone will find a way to innovate in this area in the future to help alleviate this problem, but they have the shoulders of their predecessors to stand on by implementing the things that did work.
Steed of Tardcore
Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.
5/08/12 8:59:58 AM#6
I agree on most of that, Dub. Thank god they are at least learning some things from eachother.
5/08/12 9:05:24 AM#7
Originally posted by DarkPony
Well, hopefully they are. I'm mostly speculating wildly and blowing hot air.
I think my main point is that the progression is harder to see because the dev time takes so long. I really believe that this wave of mmos is the response to Warhammer and that wave of games. Even though it seems like forever ago to us gamers, it was just yesterday in the development cycle of mmos.
5/08/12 9:13:48 AM#8
i htink this years games are not GAME CHANGER but they are a step into the right direction
5/08/12 9:27:59 AM#9
Most game changers are small things and the problem lies in the fact that most gamers don't have a clue what they are talking about but have the freedom to sound like they do.
The public are always shouting for that 'game changer' but when it comes along people shout "too difficult", " not like (insert current game". The trick is making changes that are big enough to move things along but not so big people won't accept them.
The reason a lot of games that come out are "WOW clones" is simply that when looking at game design you want to take things that work and improve them enough so they are better but not so much they are unrecognisable because then people resist the change. You also want to remove things that don't work. Too much change and people don't accept it, too little and people complain there is no difference. It is a subtle line.
5/08/12 9:55:40 AM#10
from my perspective there are a few key features I consider to be real progress in MMO maturity.
group crafting/group use. requires more than one person to realistically get together to craft some uber item that also requires more than one person to use, think Catapult for example.
strongholds and regions conjurable or controllable by players (think darkfall)
player createable quests (I know there are huge holes in this but with the proper tweaks I think it can happen)
basically what I am shooting for is this. currently regardless of how many hours you play NPC's still rule the land. at some point it makes sense to become a king or a prince etc. and at somepoint it makes sense to have a army.
does your game have rainbow sprinkles and magic ponies!?