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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » (can we get a history lesson): why was the first Themepark MMO created? what purpose they were trying to solve?

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126 posts found
  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 6032

 
OP  10/27/12 1:17:46 AM#1

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

  Kuro1n

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/03/07
Posts: 775

10/27/12 1:25:24 AM#2

Before there were only worlds, nowadays they try to make the worlds into games. Give me my worlds and adventures back, the secrets and exploration the dangers with dying and all that comes with it. :(

What I mean with worlds is that the mmos were more of a breathing world with day and night cycle, areas where mobs lived dangers with going out alone and dying etc. Players had more of a reputation and nowadays what do we get? People talk about 'open world' pvp and after that term they throw in factions I just feel ill when I see that.

/rant

First real themepark is... wow? What were they trying to fix? well they wanted the casual carebears to take part because casual carebears = $$$. Then as content couldn't be produced fast enough people bandwagoned the 'next big thing' and here goes the hype train... CHOO CHOO!

 

EDIT: Inb4 I get reported for trolling or something silly.

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2993

I actually still like MMORPGs

10/27/12 1:26:17 AM#3
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

It's hard to say Sandbox was more popular, they were so new. EQ was arguabley the first Themepark as it didn't really have any sand. I honestly don't know why they made it the way they did, I really can't imagine what they were thinking.

  JC-Smith

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/02/11
Posts: 320

10/27/12 1:27:04 AM#4

Ironically you could make an argument that Star Wars Galaxies (in the eyes of many players the best sandbox MMO to date) was the precursor to WoW's very theme park oriented gameplay. The idea had been tossed around for a while. In SWG you had rebel, imperial, hutt and other theme parks that were very similar to the quest centric gameplay that now dominates the market. You'd go through a series of missions for those NPCs, and eventually work your way up to the feature characters.  It was just a small part of the gameplay of SWG though.

Other games before WoW had begun a shift towards a more quest centric approach, but just not to the same level. DAoC's epic quest series gave very good experience, but you still had to grind on mobs for most of your exp. Everquest 2 which beat WoW to market by a month or so, also gave good experience for quests, but there were not enough of them to level off of completely and much of its world was still group oriented.

But in those days the main way to gain experience was just to grind on mobs. Killing over and over. Anything that gave experience, kill it. Leveling by quest was much more enjoyable for most players than leveling by slaying whatever mob gave exp. It gave them some focus, and allowed for some storyline to be inserted. All in all, it was an improvement over no direction at all.

Unfortunately like anything else, once the strings were visible and every game started cloning the style, players quickly realized things that they may not have originally. They were generally being driven along the same path as everyone else. Most quests followed a few basic templates and the story meant very little. Players were suddenly grouping less because it was more efficient to solo grind in a lot of cases. So now we have players sick and tired of the same grind, and wanting something new. But if you compare it to what existed beforehand, I still feel that quest grinding is preferable to mob grinding.

http://www.therepopulation.com - Scfi Fi Sandbox.

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2993

I actually still like MMORPGs

10/27/12 1:28:17 AM#5
Originally posted by Kuro1n

Before there were only worlds, nowadays they try to make the worlds into games. Give me my worlds and adventures back, the secrets and exploration the dangers with dying and all that comes with it. :(

What I mean with worlds is that the mmos were more of a breathing world with day and night cycle, areas where mobs lived dangers with going out alone and dying etc. Players had more of a reputation and nowadays what do we get? People talk about 'open world' pvp and after that term they throw in factions I just feel ill when I see that.

/rant

First real themepark is... wow? What were they trying to fix? well they wanted the casual carebears to take part because casual carebears = $$$. Then as content couldn't be produced fast enough people bandwagoned the 'next big thing' and here goes the hype train... CHOO CHOO!

 

EDIT: Inb4 I get reported for trolling or something silly.

I think we have to figure out what games are not sandboxes first.

EQ EQ2 Asherons Call Anarchy Online Dark Age of Camelot all came before WoW. Were those all sandboxes? Cause they never felt like it.

  SaintPhilip

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/12
Posts: 729

10/27/12 1:29:00 AM#6
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

The "masses" who came to PC gaming in droves when the internet really took off in the early part of the century... many hadnt even played PC games and were used to console titles.

When things "mainstreamed" and everyone went online the Gaming Companies saw they needed "direction".

IMO it came from EQ which wasnt a pure Themepark or sandbox- But it was "themepark-ish" and it continued on into WOW.

The first MMOs were designed for nerds, stat lovers ,computer geeks and pen and paper RPGs... Then the Internet really took off and it was a scramble to appeal to the masses with "direction", "handhlding" and the like.

I will try to revisit this thread when time permits since my post is pretty- Bleh due to time constraints.

  Kuro1n

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/03/07
Posts: 775

10/27/12 1:30:38 AM#7
Originally posted by Fendel84M
Originally posted by Kuro1n

Before there were only worlds, nowadays they try to make the worlds into games. Give me my worlds and adventures back, the secrets and exploration the dangers with dying and all that comes with it. :(

What I mean with worlds is that the mmos were more of a breathing world with day and night cycle, areas where mobs lived dangers with going out alone and dying etc. Players had more of a reputation and nowadays what do we get? People talk about 'open world' pvp and after that term they throw in factions I just feel ill when I see that.

/rant

First real themepark is... wow? What were they trying to fix? well they wanted the casual carebears to take part because casual carebears = $$$. Then as content couldn't be produced fast enough people bandwagoned the 'next big thing' and here goes the hype train... CHOO CHOO!

 

EDIT: Inb4 I get reported for trolling or something silly.

I think we have to figure out what games are not sandboxes first.

EQ EQ2 Asherons Call Anarchy Online Dark Age of Camelot all came before WoW. Were those all sandboxes? Cause they never felt like it.

I always thought those were sandbox games, never tried them so really had no idea. Yet I believe even if they were themepark they never were themepark to the same extent as wow for example.

 

EDIT: Seems SaintPhilip is onto what I'm talking about.

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2993

I actually still like MMORPGs

10/27/12 1:38:18 AM#8
Originally posted by Kuro1n
Originally posted by Fendel84M
Originally posted by Kuro1n

Before there were only worlds, nowadays they try to make the worlds into games. Give me my worlds and adventures back, the secrets and exploration the dangers with dying and all that comes with it. :(

What I mean with worlds is that the mmos were more of a breathing world with day and night cycle, areas where mobs lived dangers with going out alone and dying etc. Players had more of a reputation and nowadays what do we get? People talk about 'open world' pvp and after that term they throw in factions I just feel ill when I see that.

/rant

First real themepark is... wow? What were they trying to fix? well they wanted the casual carebears to take part because casual carebears = $$$. Then as content couldn't be produced fast enough people bandwagoned the 'next big thing' and here goes the hype train... CHOO CHOO!

 

EDIT: Inb4 I get reported for trolling or something silly.

I think we have to figure out what games are not sandboxes first.

EQ EQ2 Asherons Call Anarchy Online Dark Age of Camelot all came before WoW. Were those all sandboxes? Cause they never felt like it.

I always thought those were sandbox games, never tried them so really had no idea. Yet I believe even if they were themepark they never were themepark to the same extent as wow for example.

Definitely not sandboxes in my opinion. I played them all, AO actually introduced instancing! You had "random" missions that you picked up and went to a location where you zoned into an instance alone or with your group and completed the task. DAoC introduced battlegrounds, they were persistant rather that matches but they were zones designated for pvp.

  Arglebargle

Elite Member

Joined: 6/13/07
Posts: 1085

10/27/12 1:40:31 AM#9

Great question, btw.

 

Would like to point out that the lines (in the sand?) were not drawn so definitely in the early days of online gaming.  I know that early developers were really surprised by how some of the things they'd developed ended up.

If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2993

I actually still like MMORPGs

10/27/12 1:41:05 AM#10

Honestly, its about all the instancing and zoning for me. I don't care about the quests and the other rides so much, as I just don't like how everything is so heavily instanced!

Don't like this version of "The Dark Woods" pop into another one! They aren't full persistant worlds anymore, just CORPGs disguised as MMOs.

One indy game being developed even has private instanced worlds! Your own version of the world for you to enjoy, lol. It's sad.

  Kuro1n

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/03/07
Posts: 775

10/27/12 1:46:53 AM#11
Originally posted by Fendel84M

Honestly, its about all the instancing and zoning for me. I don't care about the quests and the other rides so much, as I just don't like how everything is so heavily instanced!

Don't like this version of "The Dark Woods" pop into another one! They aren't full persistant worlds anymore, just CORPGs disguised as MMOs.

One indy game being developed even has private instanced worlds! Your own version of the world for you to enjoy, lol. It's sad.

Thats exactly what im saying, there is no world anymore... they killed that part long time ago, now its just a game with maps and crap.

Imagine a game without any "balance", not all classes are meant for face to face combat, just looking at guild wars 2s class system makes me sad since everyone can essentially be the tank or the dd or w/e and everyone heals themselves. Talk about a new level of homogeneity, if this is the new standard then I just wont be able to enjoy MMOs anymore surely.

  slowpoke68

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/19/08
Posts: 347

10/27/12 2:22:55 AM#12

In the beginning, you had Ultima Online, circa 1997.  It was the first graphic MMORPG. 

It was a sandbox game.  You created a character and could go out and do whatever you wanted.  There were a ton of different skills you could develop and you got a small amount of starting skill points you could assign as you wanted.  There were no levels and no classes.  Whatever skills you used the most, went up in skill.

There was complete open world pvp with full loot.

Theoretically you had unlimited options.  But in reality, everyone was what was called a tank mage.  That is characters who leveled up their magic use and leveled up their strength so they could wear full plate armor.  If you set foot outside of town in any setup other than this you were an easy meal.  So you ended up with most everyone looking the same and doing the same thing.

It was still tremendous fun and I was totally addicted.  This is in spite of the fact that I played an animal tamer type and got owned a lot by min maxer tank mages.

In 1999, Everquest came out.  People could choose what class they wanted to play and actually group to adventure.  In UO there were no groups at all.  So the class system and the grouping system were revolutionary.  Also, you could really see how gernerously EQ borrowed from table top DND.  Lastly there was no pvp to speak of.  EQ went on to be a huge success and is still in my opinion the best pve mmo of all time.  It was incredibly challenging, you would not even believe how much more difficult it was at launch than mmos today.  

UO was cool in the freedom you had.  However, ffa pvp attracts the dregs of the internet and it was plagued by griefers.  Also, the problem that I think faces all sandbox games, unless they are really well balanced...is everyone picking the best build, so there is little to no variety.

Trust me, if you were there at the launch of UO (the sandbox) and there at the launch of EQ (the theme park), you would most likely choose the theme park.  Most people did and that is why things are the way they are.

I would like to see a nice sand box as the theme park has kind of been done to death.  The one big problem I see is if devs aren't careful with how they balance skill sets etc. you end up with everyone being the same.

 

 

 

 

  User Deleted
10/27/12 2:33:47 AM#13

Everquest probably in the most basic sense. The only two major MMO's that I know of before EQ were Ultima and Asherons Call, both of which seem to largely be considered sandboxes.

The quest hub centric themepark that defines every MMO today started with World of Warcraft though I believe.

  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

10/27/12 2:36:18 AM#14

Someone I was talking with about this a while back said that Asheron's Call 3 significantly developed the idea of questing for XP as the main form of progression.

 

This might be one link in the chain.

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  User Deleted
10/27/12 2:36:18 AM#15
Originally posted by Fendel84M

It's hard to say Sandbox was more popular, they were so new. EQ was arguabley the first Themepark as it didn't really have any sand. I honestly don't know why they made it the way they did, I really can't imagine what they were thinking.

They were probably trying to capture the feeling of table top roleplaying games, from a players perspective, with the "GM" being the themepark.  Even then, EQ was a lot more sandbox than people give it credit for.  It certainly wasn't quest-based, and required people to actually socialize and coordinate things in order to progress.

True "themepark" games, as people know them today, probably started with WoW, and was a primarily due to the idea of having quest hubs where you get to see and experience different stories while leveling, with raids being the end-game attraction.  Even quest hubs were just a way to make leveling more entertaining for people who didn't find it fun to camp the same mobs for hours at a time.

  DavisFlight

Elite Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2585

10/27/12 2:38:00 AM#16

Blizzard wanted a very simple, casual, linear game that they could use to appeal to casual gamers/non MMO players. Their fans were RTS fans, not MMO fans. MMOs were complicated, challenging, and very social.

So Blizzard made a game that was none of those things and marketed it to their casual audience. It worked.

  Hrimnir

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/24/10
Posts: 1105

10/27/12 2:40:21 AM#17
 
 
Originally posted by Fendel84M
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

It's hard to say Sandbox was more popular, they were so new. EQ was arguabley the first Themepark as it didn't really have any sand. I honestly don't know why they made it the way they did, I really can't imagine what they were thinking.

I am really getting sick and tired of the misinformation that constantly gets spewed about EQ1.

WOW was the first true themepark MMO.  It was the first one that had quest hubs, and directed storyline paths and shit like that.

Everyone thinks that WOW was a derivation of EQ1 because a large part of EQ1 was raiding.  Thats literally where the similarities end.

EQ1 did not have tiered equipment, EQ1 did not have set zone paths.  EQ1 was not a progression raiding game.

EQ1 was a world.  First and foremost.  It was meant to be hard and unforgiving and you had to find your own way.

Hell just as an example i was watching an anniversary video from SOE that was talking about something like 1000 items that exist in the game even after 10+ years havent even been discovered.

In EQ1 every race had their own faction, and NPC's had multiple factions within their race.  Then there were random other factions all throughout the game, you could get faction with giants, dragons, etc.  Depending on your faction levels you could go some places and not others.  As a human paladin i couldnt set foot anywhere near a dark elf, but if you were a human shadow knight, you could, or a human necromancer.

Every race had their own city and subsequent zones outside of it. None of this two faction bullshit every MMO does now. Or even worse, one faction. You had plenty of overlap of levels in zones and plenty of zones, so at any given level you had a minimum of a half of a dozen overland areas you could go XP at.  That wasnt even including the dungeons along the way.  Quests in EQ1 were real quests.  It wasnt any of this fetch 3 bear asses and return them to me.  It was bring this letter to this dude at this city, who then sends you out to kill some mob to get some item from them, which was then analyzed and the info gathered from it lead you to to this dungeon to break out this NPC, or whatever.  You werent doing most of the quests in 1 day, thats for damn sure.  And questing wasn't about getting XP either.

The point of MMO's prior to WOW was to introduce you to a world where you could make your own way in.  It was not about the hand holding and guided path direction like now.  You didnt have your virtual cock stroked from the beginning, acting like you're the hero who is gonna save the day.  There was none of this, log in and your first quest is to save the local village from an invading goblin horde by yourself, cus you're just that badass.  In EQ1 it was, log in, steep learning curve, punch a skeleton to death with your bare fists so you could take the rusted piece of shit sword off it, go talk to the local guardsman who tells you if you help him clear out the skellies in the area he'll put in a good word for you with the local guard captain, etc.

It was about working your way up, starting out as nothing and making something of yourself. Now, MMOs are a reflection of modern western society where people feel entitled to everything.  Like somehow they deserve this or that just by virtue of being there.  Its absurdity at the highest level.

On a side note, sandboxes were never EVER about PVP vs PVE.  Anybody who thinks that is a complete retard.  Hell, show me the PVP in the elder scrolls games, guess what, single player PVE, and theyre considered some of the best sandbox games in existence.

 

"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

  BigAndShiny

Novice Member

Joined: 6/06/11
Posts: 177

10/27/12 2:43:25 AM#18

WHY do I prefer Themeparks?

 

Because I don't want to grind a skill for 500 hours to get good at it.  I don't want to spend my life trying to become a major figure on the server to enjoy the game and feel like I've progressed anywhere.  I don't want to deal with a ridiculously harsh death penality that routinely wastes hours of my time.   I don't want to eternally grind mobs instead of following some kind of preset story.  At the end of the day, Raids are just open world bosses put together in an instance anyway, so who cares?   And 'Battlegrounds' are just the best bits of PvP put in instances too.

 

All sandbox means (in MMO terms), all it has ever meant, is an incredibly huge grind so a few extremely dedicated hardcore players can call themselves 'CEO's' or 'Faction Leaders' or whatever it is and actually have fun by ordering the players beneath them around and using them as pawns in their own games.  Sandbox players want immersion that can only be gained by building their own gigantic, complex stories.  And the vast majority of gamers simply do not have the time.

  DavisFlight

Elite Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2585

10/27/12 2:45:46 AM#19
Originally posted by BigAndShiny

WHY do I prefer Themeparks?

 

Because I don't want to grind a skill for 500 hours to get good at it.

No, instead you want to grind the same raids over and over again before you can do the next one? And then have the level cap bump up for the expansion?

 

Not all sandboxes are grindy. Not all themeparks are grindy. Grind is not a characteristic of either.

  BigAndShiny

Novice Member

Joined: 6/06/11
Posts: 177

10/27/12 2:49:39 AM#20
Originally posted by Hrimnir
 
 
 

 

EQ1 was a world.  First and foremost.  It was meant to be hard and unforgiving and you had to find your own way.

Hell just as an example i was watching an anniversary video from SOE that was talking about something like 1000 items that exist in the game even after 10+ years havent even been discovered.

In EQ1 every race had their own faction, and NPC's had multiple factions within their race.  Then there were random other factions all throughout the game, you could get faction with giants, dragons, etc. 

It was about working your way up, starting out as nothing and making something of yourself. Now, MMOs are a reflection of modern western society where people feel entitled to everything.  Like somehow they deserve this or that just by virtue of being there.  Its absurdity at the highest level.

 

So basically you're saying you want to kill 10,000 mobs again and again, remove quests for pure grind and just go back to the 'good old days' where you have to spend hours every day grinding for months to get anywhere?    Go back to EQ then.  See how much fun you have.

 

I can't believe there's this stupid attitude that somehow working for months in games for virtual items is fun for the majority of players.  It isn't.    The reason they have been made 'easier' and the grind 'shorter' is that people don't want to waste months of their lives.   Simple as that.    Vanguard was the spiritual successor to EQ and even it shortened the grind and was mostly quest-based.

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