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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Has the idea that innovation is required for MMOs hurt the genre?

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125 posts found
  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 5646

 
OP  7/21/13 11:28:57 AM#1

Does every MMO that comes out absolutely need to have something in it that's never been done before? If a developer does their homework and really takes the time to investigate a demographic, find out what makes them tick and develops a game catered to that demographic using ideas that have already been proven. The developer does it in a way so the ideas have been refined. They improved on what works, while removing what doesn't work and really putting together something that will appeal to it's target group. Does that automatically constitute the term "clone" and in a derogatory way? Does it also mean the game will fail?

In my observations. New innovations to the genre seem to always come with a cost. The cost of initial development for a new idea is a gamble. It may not have the desired impact. It might be more cost prohibitive than it's worth. So large percentages of game budget are lost on developing something that has less of a return than implementing something tried and true. There is also the unseen dynamics that new innovations account for. Some are good, but not everything new innovations bring is. Some have many negative impacts that previous MMOs did not have. New innovations have trade offs and if there are too many at one time of if they are too big for a particular game, we may get something good, but we've lost other things we'd enjoyed previously. There is also the direction of the innovations. So many innovations have been added to the genre that speed up game play. Or that is, the developers have had to intentionally shorten the time it takes to do things like reach level cap in order to account for these new innovations thus shortening the life of the game. World of Warcraft has added many innovations over the years, yet most will agree that WoW has lost what made it a great game. Some of that is nostalgia, but a lot is that WoW went down the wrong developmental path.

I'm not against innovation. I do agree it's necessary in general. But It needs to be the right kind of innovation and at the right pace. Spending hundreds of millions on developing a single player experience in an MMORPG is the wrong kind of innovation.  Innovation is necessary for the genre, but isn't necessary for each and every game to hit the market. But when new ideas are to be introduced, take what's there and improve on it slowly by refinement. Occasionally, you will see opportunities for a quantum leap, and they should be taken, but I think to try to force that with each new game has really hurt the state of MMORPGs.

In the end, I believe what we have now are developers who feel the need to develop a game called "Not-WoW Online" in order to be a success. They should be able to focus on creating their own game. Not focusing on reinventing the wheel to avoid being tagged as a clone. After high development costs and wasted resources, what they get is still round and still rolls.

I find it interesting how video games have the lowest success rate and the highest totals raised in all Kickstarter projects.
http://gamasutra.com/view/news/172837/Kickstarter_success_rate_for_games_even_lower_than_initially_reported.php

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14300

7/21/13 11:48:26 AM#2

Games don't necessarily need to do major things that have never been done before, but if a game wants to be any good, there are really only three possibilities that I can think of:

1)  Do some major things that haven't commonly been done before.

2)  Do some major things much better than they have ever been done before.

3)  Do some major things that have been commonly done before, then track down a bunch of people who would like them but have missed the many games that previously did them and get them to play your game.

Those, by the way, are in increasing order of difficulty.  So no, innovation isn't absolutely required for a good game, but it is the easiest route.

You're more arguing against the converse, that is, you're arguing that a game is innovative doesn't automatically make it good.  And that's true.

  uplink4242

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/15/08
Posts: 246

7/21/13 11:57:28 AM#3
The problem is most of them try to do #3, and fails at it. 
  Jakzy

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/08
Posts: 68

7/21/13 12:03:10 PM#4
Short answer, YES.

http://forum.gloriavictisgame.com/member.php?action=register&referrer=2457

  Ramanadjinn

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/08/11
Posts: 1365

7/21/13 12:04:37 PM#5
Originally posted by Jakzy
Short answer, YES.

 

I would probably also add "and no."

  DavisFlight

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

7/21/13 12:05:33 PM#6

If your game does absolutely nothing different, then why play it when people are already invested in the game that you're cloning?

There is so much you can do with MMOs, cloning is just sad to see. Besides, usually they all clone the same thing (W0W) and we're sick of WoW. I was sick of WoW when it launched because it was just EQ but worse. If they cloned a good nuanced game, like UO, that'd be more bearable.

 

It's stupidity to clone WoW, and themeparks in general.

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 16505

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

7/21/13 12:18:53 PM#7
Originally posted by DavisFlight

If your game does absolutely nothing different, then why play it when people are already invested in the game that you're cloning?

There is so much you can do with MMOs, cloning is just sad to see. Besides, usually they all clone the same thing (W0W) and we're sick of WoW. I was sick of WoW when it launched because it was just EQ but worse. If they cloned a good nuanced game, like UO, that'd be more bearable.

 

It's stupidity to clone WoW, and themeparks in general.

In other words, only clone the games he likes.... It's an act of stupidity to not cater to him...

While I'd agree the WOW model has been over done, I think it's fairly obvious most haven't done a good job of cloning the aspects that bring in players and keeps them more than a few months.

I think what's important is finding the right mix for the right crowd, which isn't exactly an easy thing to do.

It's easy to copy a mechanic, what's hard is copying the magic that makes a game great. Compare Two Worlds 2 to SKyrim. While Two worlds does a lot of things that Skyrim does it also offers a few things TES games don't, it lacks something that makes it as enjoyable an experience. Be it polish, pacing, mob behavior etc... It lacks something that's hard to pinpoint. That's the magic I'm referring to.

 

 

 

 

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  DavisFlight

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

7/21/13 12:26:39 PM#8
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight

If your game does absolutely nothing different, then why play it when people are already invested in the game that you're cloning?

There is so much you can do with MMOs, cloning is just sad to see. Besides, usually they all clone the same thing (W0W) and we're sick of WoW. I was sick of WoW when it launched because it was just EQ but worse. If they cloned a good nuanced game, like UO, that'd be more bearable.

 

It's stupidity to clone WoW, and themeparks in general.

In other words, only clone the games he likes.... It's an act of stupidity to not cater to him...

 

Jesus...

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

  Jean-Luc_Picard

Elite Member

Joined: 1/10/13
Posts: 3230

There... are... four... lights!

7/21/13 12:37:21 PM#9

One thing is sure, the genre does NOT need any more WoW clones.

Originally posted by DavisFlight 

Jesus...

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

Huh?

http://www.uo.com/

Playing now: WoW, Landmark, GW2, SotA

Top 3 MMORPGs played: UO, AC1 and WoW

Honorable mentions: AO, LotRO, SW:TOR and GW2.

----------------

"The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent" - Qui-gon Jinn. After many years of reading Internet forums, there's no doubt that neither does the ability to write. Forgive me if I sometimes forget that there are all kind of people on Internet forums, not only intelligent and cultivated ones...

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 16505

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

7/21/13 12:37:52 PM#10
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight

If your game does absolutely nothing different, then why play it when people are already invested in the game that you're cloning?

There is so much you can do with MMOs, cloning is just sad to see. Besides, usually they all clone the same thing (W0W) and we're sick of WoW. I was sick of WoW when it launched because it was just EQ but worse. If they cloned a good nuanced game, like UO, that'd be more bearable.

 

It's stupidity to clone WoW, and themeparks in general.

In other words, only clone the games he likes.... It's an act of stupidity to not cater to him...

 

What a pillock.

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

I agree someone should look farther back into the history of the genre to find the magic ingredients that made those games special.

That's where my agreement with you stops,, as most fail at copying what makes for a good themepark. Instead they infuse the typical themepark design with gimmicks like story or dynamic content, thinking that will be good enough. Which it isn't. It's a short sighted philosophy that doesn't strike at the core of what makes a good MMO (community).

M59 was a themepark, Eq was a themepark, DAOC was a themepark, yet they captured something that hasn't been reproduced since really.

 

 

 

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  DavisFlight

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

7/21/13 12:40:14 PM#11
Originally posted by Jean-Luc_Picard

One thing is sure, the genre does NOT need any more WoW clones.

Originally posted by DavisFlight 

Jesus...

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

Huh?

http://www.uo.com/

UO in the form that almost everyone loved is long LONG gone. Same with DAoC, EverQuest, SWG, and AC to an extent.

  DavisFlight

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

7/21/13 12:42:23 PM#12
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight

If your game does absolutely nothing different, then why play it when people are already invested in the game that you're cloning?

There is so much you can do with MMOs, cloning is just sad to see. Besides, usually they all clone the same thing (W0W) and we're sick of WoW. I was sick of WoW when it launched because it was just EQ but worse. If they cloned a good nuanced game, like UO, that'd be more bearable.

 

It's stupidity to clone WoW, and themeparks in general.

In other words, only clone the games he likes.... It's an act of stupidity to not cater to him...

 

What a pillock.

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

I agree someone should look farther back into the history of the genre to find the magic ingredients that made those games special.

That's where my agreement with you stops,, as most fail at copying what makes for a good themepark. Instead they infuse the typical themepark design with gimmicks like story or dynamic content, thinking that will be good enough. Which it isn't. It's a short sighted philosophy that doesn't strike at the core of what makes a good MMO (community).

M59 was a themepark, Eq was a themepark, DAOC was a themepark, yet they captured something that hasn't been reproduced since really.

 

They were not themeparks in the modern sense, by any means. They didn't have rails or safety nets, two big things that destinguish a themepark. Themeparks are about lack of freedom and (nowadays) lack of social interaction. Not so with those games.

Rift, by most people's standards, was a fine themepark, as was SWTOR, yet they both failed. Why? Because the themepark model (or if we call it what it is, the WoW clone model) doesn't work. WoW, rereleased today wouldn't event work, because the design isn't what made WoW stick around. The brand name recognition and marketing did.

  Jean-Luc_Picard

Elite Member

Joined: 1/10/13
Posts: 3230

There... are... four... lights!

7/21/13 12:43:20 PM#13
Originally posted by DavisFlight

UO in the form that I loved is long LONG gone. Same with DAoC, EverQuest, SWG, and AC to an extent.

Fixed for you. Never assume to speak for anyone else than yourself, thanks.

Playing now: WoW, Landmark, GW2, SotA

Top 3 MMORPGs played: UO, AC1 and WoW

Honorable mentions: AO, LotRO, SW:TOR and GW2.

----------------

"The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent" - Qui-gon Jinn. After many years of reading Internet forums, there's no doubt that neither does the ability to write. Forgive me if I sometimes forget that there are all kind of people on Internet forums, not only intelligent and cultivated ones...

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14300

7/21/13 12:44:34 PM#14
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Jean-Luc_Picard

One thing is sure, the genre does NOT need any more WoW clones.

Originally posted by DavisFlight 

Jesus...

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

Huh?

http://www.uo.com/

UO in the form that almost everyone loved is long LONG gone. Same with DAoC, EverQuest, SWG, and AC to an extent.

Every time a game is patched, it murders the previous version of the game.  And kittens.  Think of the kittens before you patch.  </ sarcasm>

  DavisFlight

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

7/21/13 12:47:25 PM#15
Originally posted by Jean-Luc_Picard
Originally posted by DavisFlight

UO in the form that I loved is long LONG gone. Same with DAoC, EverQuest, SWG, and AC to an extent.

Fixed for you. Never assume to speak for anyone else than yourself, thanks.

I'm speaking for the large swathes of people I've experienced over the years wishing for old UO back. Thousands and thousands of them. Or did you not notice numbers dipping after certain expansions and patches? DAoC releases ToA and Catacombs... numbers drop like rocks. SWG releases NGE... population vanishes. UO changes everything about the game and gets rid of the man that invented the brand... population vanishes.

 

So yeah, kindly go away.

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 16505

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

7/21/13 12:56:12 PM#16
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight

If your game does absolutely nothing different, then why play it when people are already invested in the game that you're cloning?

There is so much you can do with MMOs, cloning is just sad to see. Besides, usually they all clone the same thing (W0W) and we're sick of WoW. I was sick of WoW when it launched because it was just EQ but worse. If they cloned a good nuanced game, like UO, that'd be more bearable.

 

It's stupidity to clone WoW, and themeparks in general.

In other words, only clone the games he likes.... It's an act of stupidity to not cater to him...

 

What a pillock.

Cloning UO, a game which no longer exists, and which many people are unfamiliar with, would seem a whole lot fresher than copying the biggest game in the entire genre, which most people are either playing, or don't want to play, right?

Common sense is lost on some of you.

I agree someone should look farther back into the history of the genre to find the magic ingredients that made those games special.

That's where my agreement with you stops,, as most fail at copying what makes for a good themepark. Instead they infuse the typical themepark design with gimmicks like story or dynamic content, thinking that will be good enough. Which it isn't. It's a short sighted philosophy that doesn't strike at the core of what makes a good MMO (community).

M59 was a themepark, Eq was a themepark, DAOC was a themepark, yet they captured something that hasn't been reproduced since really.

 

They were not themeparks in the modern sense, by any means. They didn't have rails or safety nets, two big things that destinguish a themepark. Themeparks are about lack of freedom and (nowadays) lack of social interaction. Not so with those games.

Rift, by most people's standards, was a fine themepark, as was SWTOR, yet they both failed. Why? Because the themepark model (or if we call it what it is, the WoW clone model) doesn't work. WoW, rereleased today wouldn't event work, because the design isn't what made WoW stick around. The brand name recognition and marketing did.

Freedom is definitely something that modern Themeparks lack. As well as a sense of danger, I also agree WOW's initial success came from it's brand recognition, the massive amount of Blizz fans out there and of course marketing.

WOW is essentially an anomaly though, as we all know by now. It was a part of the internet explosion,  it was for many their first MMO, and we all know as MMo fans, how that can warp your vision of what makes that perfect game.

I'm glad that the masses are moving on to tablet (IOs) games, and away from this genre as a whole. That's the new fad, and it's welcome by me. As hopefully studios begin to focus on the core MMO fan again.

Even the console world is changing due to that IMO, as even there freedom is becoming a focus. I doubt that would be the case without the IOS market catering to the true casuals.

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 16505

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

7/21/13 1:00:27 PM#17
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Jean-Luc_Picard
Originally posted by DavisFlight

UO in the form that I loved is long LONG gone. Same with DAoC, EverQuest, SWG, and AC to an extent.

Fixed for you. Never assume to speak for anyone else than yourself, thanks.

I'm speaking for the large swathes of people I've experienced over the years wishing for old UO back. Thousands and thousands of them. Or did you not notice numbers dipping after certain expansions and patches? DAoC releases ToA and Catacombs... numbers drop like rocks. SWG releases NGE... population vanishes. UO changes everything about the game and gets rid of the man that invented the brand... population vanishes.

 

So yeah, kindly go away.

I agree here as well, there are many who want those games back along with the original design and vision they started with.

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  Torval

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 6573

7/21/13 1:04:28 PM#18

Well, that was a not so interesting derail into myopic narcissism, as usual.

Anyway, to answer the OP - sort of yes and sort of no.  Like a few others have said reusing mechanics is okay, but you have to make them your own.  If a game developer doesn't have their own game in mind when they make it then whatever they do is going to feel like a white-washed rehash.

There is a problem with reviewers and bloggers that slap an innovation rating on games.  What makes up innovation is subjective and the weight and value of true innovation, with regards to an overall game rating, skews the final score in a disingenuous manner.  Does a typical themepark or sandbox game need to create all new systems done completely different?  If they don't then their "innovation" score is low and that drops the score of what could be an otherwise fun game.  If a horrible game has a lot of innovation it will bring up the score that should have been lower.

A game could really be a complete WoW clone if you take each system individually, but actually have their own twist on how they are implemented and integrate as a whole. The game could be really fun while not doing much different.  Would "innovation marks" in this case really do justice to the overall game review?

Reviewers should rate the innovation of a game as it applies to the world.  If a dev tries to innovate but fails, that should be noted and how that innovation affects the game.  In other words some innovations are great, like you point out, and should be promoted and encouraged so that other developers evolve that mechanic.  When an innovation fails it should be criticized accordingly.  Developers should incorporate innovations due to necessity, not to complete a marketing checkbox.

Curse you AquaScum!

  bcbully

Tipster

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 8205

7/21/13 1:08:31 PM#19
Originally posted by Quizzical

 

3)  Do some major things that have been commonly done before, then track down a bunch of people who would like them but have missed the many games that previously did them and get them to play your game.

 

Sounds familiar  smart man.

  Vezlin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/04/12
Posts: 22

7/21/13 1:11:02 PM#20

To OP: May I ask what innovations you're seeing in particular that have come with the costs of other features or quality, and what specific things were impacted by the implementation of these innovations?

I think that without innovation, the genre would be dead and hopeless, going by the word's definition of changing something established. We'd be getting the exact same game over and over again--and we already know how well that goes when we see countless X clones getting pumped out and closed off or resorting to desperate measures to stay afloat, such as WoW styled F2Ps or another isometric grinder. New combat, new quest systems, and new means of player interaction are what I hope to see more of in coming game.

That said, I also think there are some innovations and design choices being made for the worse. A lot of MMOs have been devolving into races to max level to run gear treadmills, and games have been designed to spoonfeed these rewards faster and easier to keep a certain, albeit large number of players happy, and a lot of 'innovations' have been set up to add to this. Easier bosses, shorter dungeons, smaller party sizes, less teamwork needed, and the ability get comparable or alternative rewards through soloable dailies have appeal, but it's hit a point where the entire game is a chore rather than an experience. Almost every quest and mob filling plenty of games now is designed to be soloable at level, by everyone. Your class does not matter because it's designed for you in mind, your skills usually don't matter because it's designed for them in time, and your gear has been handed to you by all the stuff you were 'supposed' to do to get to the point. The gear-treadmill system has us handed a key to open a box with a key in it to open another box with a key in it to... You get the point.

What MMOs have strayed from innovating towards are things that they're best at; creating virtual worlds, and building and rewarding the development of player skills and abilities rather than +5 to win, one of the most critical skills being teamwork, and the reason why innovations can still be good is because such can still be innovated towards. Public events, dynamic quests, whatever-you-want-to-call-them have been making worlds more alive; action combat has put some of the responsibility of playing the game well back in players' hands; this sandbox renaissance we seem to be heading towards allows communities to breathe life into their online worlds instead of just jogging through them. 

Some games have gotten some things right, and those are lessons that should be learned from and, if they still work, used in new games, but there is a lot that needs to be improved in the genre, which means plenty of reason for innovation to keep on going.

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