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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Up to 90% of MMO Real Estate is Wasted

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169 posts found
  Tryken

Ultima Online Correspondent

Joined: 7/08/04
Posts: 63

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers. - T.S. Eliot

7/07/13 4:55:21 PM#141
Originally posted by Talin

I agree with what is proposed here, as most MMOs either spend too much time/effort for the number of zones, or take the "easy way out" and reuse art and landscapes to the point of their embarrassment just to give more real estate for mob placement.

The better balance would be adding tiered layers in content. Imagine near the "starter" area (let's say it is a town surrounding a castle) there is a crude village of goblins. In the beginning, players will perform some raids on the perimeter, taking down the lower level grunt goblins. There is then an interior part of the goblin camp filled with elite goblins several levels higher that players will return to battle later in their career. We have now created two levelling areas out of one set of assets (although I would expect the goblins to look far stronger with their size, weapons and armor). Not too complicated, eh?

Ragnarok Online actually did this. There'd usually be two or three levels to a dungeon, and the level of the mobs would change significantly depending how high up you went. It was actually a good idea, as dungeons were usually full of varied level players, and I never felt like they were dead inside.

Truthfully, I think Ultima Online has the best approach with its no level system. Having characters just go off skills is great.  You can get caught up well enough to play with your friends fairly quickly and start enjoying the world. You'll have plenty of room to move around and improve, but you won't be miles behind everyone else. You'll be playing with them in no time. To me, Ultima still embodies the best way to use real estate in a game.

  HakudoJoe

Novice Member

Joined: 6/05/13
Posts: 10

7/07/13 6:14:37 PM#142

Firefall solved the problem alluded to in this article. They decided that instead of making content on par with other MMOs, they'd make 5% of what's considered acceptable content and call it a day. 

Why build a full game when you can just build a small percentage of the game and claim you're being efficient? LOL 

  Aulliwyn

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/04
Posts: 912

It is pronounced "All-ee-Win!"

7/07/13 6:59:48 PM#143

/raises hand

I remember my first tutorial starter zone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0ErchwGqR8


  MojoKingBee

Novice Member

Joined: 2/24/04
Posts: 21

7/07/13 7:15:37 PM#144

*raises hand*

Anarchy Online - gutting leets in the backyard - good times

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3881

RIP City of Heroes!

7/07/13 7:18:40 PM#145
Originally posted by Jakdstripper

the "money invested vs. money returned" approach to mmos is exactly why games have gone down the tube. Money invested per square inch DOES NOT translate to gaming enjoyment per square inch.

just look at EvE, or DayZ, or Minecraft. there is no way those games spent 3.5 millions per zone and yet they are some of the most iconic, most innovative and fun games of the last 3 years.  

games are about, fantasy, imagination, freedom, and innovation. without those you can spend billions and all you'll get is Star Wars prequels, and Jar Jar Binks clones. Business man DO NOT make good games. Artists, visionaries, and innovators do, because they do not ask themselves "how am I going to make money out of this?", they ask "what kind of world would I want to lose myself in?".

THAT is what makes great games.

The rest is just greedy suits complaining how throwing money at the industry doesn't work like it does at the strip club.

 

 

 I have  to agree with the point about money invested vs returned in regards to mmorpgs.  They call it over production and it leads to having minimal content as anything extraneous is wasting money.  Games need to become bigger with tons of areas to explore but a small number of places that provide "benefits".  Beancounters are ruining this world with their minimalist philosophy.

  Bladestrom

Elite Member

Joined: 4/04/11
Posts: 3880

7/07/13 7:26:49 PM#146
Agree, thos se bean counters would have all green space in RL covered by shopping plazas because of the 'greater footfall', we humans love space and opportunities to explore - why should it not be the same and indeed exaggerated in a virtual world.

rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW (10000 hrs on main mage)> oblivion > LOTR (600 runemaster/Hunter) > Rift (230 hours mage) > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR

  swarmdie

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/28/05
Posts: 21

7/07/13 7:35:46 PM#147
Or Norrath
  uidCaustic

Novice Member

Joined: 7/15/11
Posts: 148

7/07/13 8:00:23 PM#148
No tutorial zone in The Realm.
  severius

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/10/04
Posts: 1530

7/07/13 8:39:36 PM#149
In order that I played them: Neverwinter Nights on AOL, Meridian 59, Sierra's the Realm, and Ultima Online did not have tutorials.  I think Asheron's Call might've been the first that had a tutorial?


  yangdude

Novice Member

Joined: 5/15/12
Posts: 68

7/07/13 8:44:08 PM#150

I very much felt this way about Perfect World.  Now theres an empty MMO.  Certain areas are always full but I would say 99% of the map is empty and that seems a real pity because some of the areas are amazingly beautiful.  I made quite a few threads in the suggestion box about this and ways to encourage players back, but to no avail.

Compare that with GW2 which Ive gotten back into lately.  In actual fact, most of it is empty also.  Large numbers of players do a continual rotation of events/bosses etc in Queensdale which is a starter zone.  Because of the level scaling, you get just as good rewards there as you do in a level 80 zone, which kinda feels weird to me.  I mean, on my lvl 80 char in Queensdale, a level 10 mob can drop a piece of level 80 gear but if I switch to my level 15 char, I get level 15 drops, and irrespective of which char I play, a successful event gives a % as a reward, so both chars effectively get the same amount of xp per event.  Im not sure if the devs consider this an issue but I just soloed 5 other zones - 2 zones had a few people doing events like me, 1 zone I saw 2 other people I think and in 2 zones I didn't see another char.

  jbombard

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 491

7/07/13 9:49:37 PM#151

It serves a purpose.  Zone progression is another form of progression, going somewhere for the first time is fun.  Seeing more powerful monsters as you enter new zones is also fun.  Having places in the world too dangerous to venture is exciting.

 

Games could do a better job of getting people back to older zones with events, but the reality is that people enjoy seeing new things rather than seeing the same things over and over again.

 

If game production is getting so expensive that they can't make a profit, I don't think making less content is the solution.  Perhaps better tool development is one way.  If you stick your players in one area for too long they will rapidly grow bored of it.

  Hrimnir

Elite Member

Joined: 5/24/10
Posts: 1223

7/08/13 12:31:15 AM#152
Originally posted by Giffen
Originally posted by John_Grimm
Well, i know one game that is like that, Eve Online, most of its space can be used by any lvl char.  :D

That's because EVE has no levels.  Wasted "zones" are an attribute of level base games.  UO and EVE are two that did not have this issue because they did not have levels.

Eve cannot be included in this discussion at all.  EVE has literally no content.  Each sector of space has a planet that is for all intents and purposes a texture in the background, a few moons, and some asteroids.  All the ships you encounter are the same ships as everywhere else, just different names.

Creating content in EVE is nothing at all even remotely in the same realm as creating content for a standard MMO.

And yes, EVE "wastes" plenty of zones.  Pretty much 95% of the zones in the game have nobody in them, yet Jita will have several hundred people at once.  Its just like any other MMO in that respect.

"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

  ROFLcopter13

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/18/09
Posts: 20

7/08/13 4:59:40 PM#153
Originally posted by black_isle
Is this a weekly Firefall advertisement column or just a dev writing a general column who also happens to be working on a game? This shameless advertising disguised as a column is becoming very irritating. 

 

 

yeah I agree, and released A DAY BEFORE THE GAME GOES OPEN BETA! Koinkydink? I think not.. And yes, he pulled numbers out of his ass as well.. Terrible :(

  Akuja

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 2

7/08/13 8:14:13 PM#154

Just want to point out that your understanding of the Game creation is a little out.

In most cases the Sound/Voicing and cinematics are the big budget these days.

  Tierless

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/01/08
Posts: 2118

joie de vivre

7/08/13 9:11:33 PM#155

I think I like this Kern fellow.

mmorpg.com/blogs/Xobdnas

  chaintm

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/02/04
Posts: 980

"Shutting down threads sense 2004"

7/09/13 4:51:09 AM#156
good article, but the solution has always been a simple one... sandbox.

"The monster created isn't by the company that makes the game, it's by the fans that make it something it never was"

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6825

7/09/13 6:58:54 AM#157
Originally posted by Letsinod
This is where EQ1 got it so right.  There were many level ranges of mobs in each zone.  Spectres to docks anyone?  Giants also.  You would often have high level toons leveling next to newbs in some areas.

EQ got it right?  That really made me laugh.  At least EQ had some difficulty, but when you get down to it, it was the poster child for all the current theme parks out there today.  It's competition was UO and AC which did not have zones so EQ basically invented the idea of different level zones for different levels.

The problem with zones, they are inherent when you have levels and levels are tied to the theme park design.  To remove zones for specific levels would require a huge redesign of a game.  No developer would take that on.  

If really have to have a sandbox design to remove the zones.  Where character levels are meaningless or nonexistent.

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6825

7/09/13 7:04:43 AM#158
Originally posted by Hrimnir
Originally posted by Giffen
Originally posted by John_Grimm
Well, i know one game that is like that, Eve Online, most of its space can be used by any lvl char.  :D

That's because EVE has no levels.  Wasted "zones" are an attribute of level base games.  UO and EVE are two that did not have this issue because they did not have levels.

Eve cannot be included in this discussion at all.  EVE has literally no content.  Each sector of space has a planet that is for all intents and purposes a texture in the background, a few moons, and some asteroids.  All the ships you encounter are the same ships as everywhere else, just different names.

Creating content in EVE is nothing at all even remotely in the same realm as creating content for a standard MMO.

And yes, EVE "wastes" plenty of zones.  Pretty much 95% of the zones in the game have nobody in them, yet Jita will have several hundred people at once.  Its just like any other MMO in that respect.

That is a lot of nonsense if you ask me.  Eve has tons of content, just that many people are risk adverse and don't like going into some of more risky areas.  As to npcs, they are quite varied and have become even more so.  You are obviously one of those risk adverse types, who have not tried some of the risky npc interactions in the game let alone having to engage a human opponent.

Eve University is a great example of where you go wrong.  They take rookies right into the thick of the pvp areas.  

  Zorgo

Elite Member

Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 2267

Who did wrong? The advertiser hired to sell the game or the consumer who put faith in advertising?

7/09/13 6:24:16 PM#159
Originally posted by Ozmodan
Originally posted by Letsinod
This is where EQ1 got it so right.  There were many level ranges of mobs in each zone.  Spectres to docks anyone?  Giants also.  You would often have high level toons leveling next to newbs in some areas.

EQ got it right?  That really made me laugh.  At least EQ had some difficulty, but when you get down to it, it was the poster child for all the current theme parks out there today.  It's competition was UO and AC which did not have zones so EQ basically invented the idea of different level zones for different levels.

The problem with zones, they are inherent when you have levels and levels are tied to the theme park design.  To remove zones for specific levels would require a huge redesign of a game.  No developer would take that on.  

If really have to have a sandbox design to remove the zones.  Where character levels are meaningless or nonexistent.

That is about the narrowest view of a sandbox I have ever heard. 

- Sandboxes can have levels

A skill system is exactly the same concept at its most basic. You can't kill this mob until you are lvl 10. You cannot kill this mob unless you have a skill of 100 in something. They are both mathematical benchmarks/expressions of what you content you can or cannot participate in.

- Sandboxes can have zones and instances

I mean.....what? Seemless zones is a construction preference not a game mechanic. 

I swear, as long as people hold to these ideals as if they were canon, biblical truth......well, let's just say, we wouldn't have Heath Ledgers' Joker with that attitude.

 

 

 

  sausagemix

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/04/08
Posts: 4

7/09/13 8:10:31 PM#160
I have never felt the usage and utility of zones in MMORPGs as I have in EQ. Starting out as a wood elf druid in Kelethin I could take off and travel the land, across the sea and to the the other side of the world at ANY TIME, which I did at lvl 12. Sure, it was dangerous, long and at times not exciting, but traveling can be like that and without the negatives I'd have nothing to judge the amazing adventure/exploration/friends and leveling I had against. There were no teleport devices or ship cutscenes and thats what helped make it feel like a vast world. You could get quests in your starting city for objectives 2 or three zones away, and many quests for high level characters could be found in lower end zones. Like many  have mentioned mobs werent segregated purely by zone level and you could get stomped easily by a giant if you went afk in the wrong place in the Common Lands or didnt watch the horizon for griffons while fighting simple orc grunts. And one thing that gave me satisfaction at higher levels was getting revenge on those giants and griffons, or saving lower level players who had no intention of seeking their wrath. Just cant really find that seriousness and the importance of awareness in most MMORPGs anymore. So I think the number one thing is : Dont seperate zones by levels, make leveled content that fits the geography and organization of your zones.
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