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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Do MMOs Need More Danger?

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72 posts found
  GameByNight

Columnist / Podcast Host

Joined: 9/08/09
Posts: 82

1/23/14 12:08:34 PM#21
Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

 

Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

 

It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

 

 

No one is advocating permadeath. That said, yes, we should be looking at the successes of Day Z because MMO players have rallied behind that game like few others in recent years.

Writer of The Tourist, Tripping the Rift, and co-writer of Player Versus Player
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  collekt

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/05/13
Posts: 210

1/23/14 12:09:43 PM#22
Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

 

Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

 

It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

 

Agreed. I love PvP and I'm definitely all for full loot PvP, but perma death in an MMO has to be the worst idea imaginable. 

  Homitu

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/01/09
Posts: 2044

1/23/14 12:12:08 PM#23
From main article:
 
Chris: One of the most common criticisms of the modern MMO is that there is no reason to explore. I would reframe that, because lots of games have given us reasons -- but maybe the answer is that exploration itself is no fun. Death is meaningless. There are no wilds to be dared. There is no risk to stepping outside of your comfort zone, and when there is no risk, exploring becomes a tour of the scenery. That’s not what explorers want and tying in achievements only makes it a checklist. Without the danger of meaningful death, how much can a war-torn game world even mean? Look to games like EVE or Darkfall Online and you will find exploration with the same exhilarating thrill of yesteryear.

 

My first thought when I read the title of this article was a counter to this very argument. Excessive danger often discourages exploration.  Players may want to explore terribly, but will opt not to if they risk losing everything by doing so. The threshold of how much risk is too much (long res sickness, EXP loss, full loot loss) varies by player, but most players do have a threshold and will alter their play accordingly.

I agree that exploration is crucial, and games should provide incentive to explore.  Games should make players curious about the world by making the world interesting and rewarding them with some of the game's best adventures when they stray off the obvious path.  But it's not always a healthy thing for every game to make players too afraid to leave an area of safety by ramping up the the danger and consequences of dying significantly.  

I completely agree that there's a place for such games in today's niche market - and that's great, that everyone can find something they enjoy.  I definitely don't think, however, that it's a good idea to indiscriminately include such potentially alienating features in every MMO out there.  

 

Inb4 "hardcore", full loot, perma-death, PvP only MMO gamer blows away my "casual" self with his air of superiority spell.  

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/23/14 12:19:19 PM#24
Originally posted by xeniar
Originally posted by lizardbones

If "danger" was something that MMORPGs needed, wouldn't games that offered more "danger" have done better, at least initially?

 

I think when gamers play MMORPGs they have a different set of expectations than when they are playing games that do not have the same level of permanence that MMORPGs have.  There certainly are people who want "danger", but it seems what most people want is "adventure" and "challenge".  At least when playing MMORPGs.  I think it has something to do with the persistent state of MMORPGs as opposed to the temporary nature of game play in games like DayZ, Rust and even Minecraft.  If there is no expectation of permanence, then when things aren't permanent it's not a big deal.  If there is an expectation of permanence, when things aren't permanent it's a big deal.

 

Though it might be that what most people want is a lot more "adventure" and a little more "challenge".

 

I think from the MMORPG developer side, it's a little simpler.  There are more people who want more "adventure" than there are people who want more "danger".  Ideally, developers would choose to gather all of those people into a basket and empty their pockets of money.  That's not really feasible, so they have to make decisions, and one of the decisions they probably make is to gather the larger crowd versus the smaller crowd, even if the smaller crowd is more desperate for a new game.

 

I disagree with you on evry level on this one

Your first sentence states that oldschool MMO's (wich in general where all quite difficult (danger difficult chalange all the same thing)) did poorly wich is not the case. WoW just opened up the genre to a whole lot of other people wich initially would not be playing MMO's. These people have not experienced the precursors so have not had a tatse of the more dangerous/diffucult style of play. In no way can be said that they would not like it.

This is a big mistake evryone is making, You cannot comment on something you have not experienced therefor you cannot determine if those people would or would not like it.

Some might have had a look into older MMO's but the grapichs are a detterent asswell as being alone in a starter area. Again that does not mean that people don't like these types of games but things like that act as a detterent against giving that gameplay a fair chance.

 

I was referring more to Mortal Online and Darkfall than I was any "Old School" MMORPG.  There aren't many games that have a comparable level of "danger" to either DayZ or Rust but MO and DF are pretty close.  Maybe Xyson, I'm not sure.

 

The thing is, the genre has been around for awhile now.  Games with more "danger" generally don't even get an initial huge influx of players.  Not like DayZ or even Rust has had.  Now, it's true we would really need to see "DayZ" the MMORPG that wasn't developed by whoever made The WarZ to know for sure, but there are other indicators that in the MMORPG space, more people are interested in fun than actual risk or danger.  The open world PvP aspect of any MMORPG that offers PvP and PvE games attracts fewer people.

 

It just seems odd that anywhere except the MMORPG space games that are brutal and which have some aspect of perma-death type mechanics attract so many more players than they seem to gather inside the MMORPG space.  I'm certainly guessing as to why with the persistence thing, but there certainly seems to be something there to me.

 

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  jmcdermottuk

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/10/06
Posts: 794

1/23/14 12:27:11 PM#25
Originally posted by GameByNight
Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

 

Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

 

It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

 

 

No one is advocating permadeath. That said, yes, we should be looking at the successes of Day Z because MMO players have rallied behind that game like few others in recent years.

 

I'm sorry I can't agree. I'm an MMO player, but also an FPS player. I accept what happens in Day Z purely based on the fact that it's an FPS game. Because of that, having 1 life and the threat of losing all my stuff is acceptable. That's the way a lot of FPS games have gone over the years and since there's no real sense of permanence it doesn't bother me.

 

As an MMO player I would be horrified if an MMO expected the same thing of me. The fact that your MMO char can exist for years almost dictates how much risk most people are going to be willing to take. This is already evident in sandbox FFA Full Loot games where we see low populations, compared to PvE themeparks with, literally, millions of players. The reason why? People don't like losing their shit when they've worked hard for years to get it.

 

You can't seriously expect those same players to start playing an MMO with even greater risk. I would posit that all those "MMO" players who are supporting Day Z are actually FPS players who also happen to play an MMO.

  Raventree

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 457

It is a double pleasure to gank the ganker.
-Raven Treeavelli

1/23/14 12:34:13 PM#26

For the most part, I am with Bill on this one.  I think more challenge and better design is what is needed more than full loot and constant threat of being killed.  I want some danger in my MMOs, but I don't want them to be like EVE, where you can lose so much that you are afraid to go out into the world in the first place.  It can be frustrating enough to deal with the gankers and griefers without giving them all my stuff every single time I die.  Full looting really just encourages antisocial and predatory behavior, in my opinion, and makes it impractical to solo.

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  Purutzil

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 2860

The Critical Hit Pretzel!

1/23/14 12:36:13 PM#27

Honestly, danger should likely come in the form of PvE. As entertaining as "PvP" danger is, the fact is most people will instead use it to grief others who stand no chance, not creating a sense of risk but more just 'unfairness' as the one player attempts to grief the other.

As Yahtzee (Zero Punctuation) put out about pvp (in reference to rust, not quoted), "Hello are you friendly? Depends, is that a gun? Yes, is that a gun? Yes, Then lets be friends!"

 

No one wants to pvp unless they often have the upper hand (and a huge upper hand as in using a gun in a knife fight advantage). Using PvP for risk is fine but its just so rarely ever done in an interesting way. You either never get attacked, or you get hit by someone who has a clear advantage over you (aka a rogue gank in most games where a good majority of the time they can easily kill you, or run away like pansies after they fail). To me PvP just isn't a good way to build Risk anymore as players have become more and more 'grief happy' and even more pansy then they use to be.

 

Good PvE danger is the best way to create atmosphere, with a noteable penalty if you die such as losing experience or other factors making death a risk. Even just having say an experience penalty does wonders to creating a sense of danger to a game without even having to adjust difficulty. Without it, I don't think a good majority of players even realize just how much they really die on 'easy' content.

  collekt

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/05/13
Posts: 210

1/23/14 12:39:22 PM#28
Originally posted by Homitu
From main article:
 
Chris: One of the most common criticisms of the modern MMO is that there is no reason to explore. I would reframe that, because lots of games have given us reasons -- but maybe the answer is that exploration itself is no fun. Death is meaningless. There are no wilds to be dared. There is no risk to stepping outside of your comfort zone, and when there is no risk, exploring becomes a tour of the scenery. That’s not what explorers want and tying in achievements only makes it a checklist. Without the danger of meaningful death, how much can a war-torn game world even mean? Look to games like EVE or Darkfall Online and you will find exploration with the same exhilarating thrill of yesteryear.

 

My first thought when I read the title of this article was a counter to this very argument. Excessive danger often discourages exploration.  Players may want to explore terribly, but will opt not to if they risk losing everything by doing so. The threshold of how much risk is too much (long res sickness, EXP loss, full loot loss) varies by player, but most players do have a threshold and will alter their play accordingly.

I agree that exploration is crucial, and games should provide incentive to explore.  Games should make players curious about the world by making the world interesting and rewarding them with some of the game's best adventures when they stray off the obvious path.  But it's not always a healthy thing for every game to make players too afraid to leave an area of safety by ramping up the the danger and consequences of dying significantly.  

I completely agree that there's a place for such games in today's niche market - and that's great, that everyone can find something they enjoy.  I definitely don't think, however, that it's a good idea to indiscriminately include such potentially alienating features in every MMO out there.  

 

Inb4 "hardcore", full loot, perma-death, PvP only MMO gamer blows away my "casual" self with his air of superiority spell.  

 

You're right, it is a fine line that you have to walk here. However, I still don't see how exploration can be any fun without the presence of danger. Also, a lot of MMO players that haven't experienced this type of game see "full loot" and immediately equate it to losing their Tier 4 Raid Gear from WoW or something. Typically speaking, full loot games put less emphasis on epic gear and such, and a full set of armor is much easier to come by. Most people would have multiple sets in their bank or house so they can quickly gear back up after dying, assuming all their gear was actually looted.

To me, games with no risk just feel more like a co-op game than a true MMO. What is the good in seeing all these people running around if your only interaction with them is when you occasionally land in the same group and enter a dungeon or something? You may as well just play an entirely instanced game. What does it matter if the zones are instanced if you aren't interacting with people anyway?

  Amsai

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/16/11
Posts: 69

1/23/14 12:41:17 PM#29
Hell Yes!! It doesnt have to be super punishing with death penalty but make it punishing to move outside of cities at least. See a wall of mobs 100 yards outside the city and you run through them like a dumbass then expect to die and have to fight your way back all over again..... hard fights not trash mobs that you wipe out in dozens in 15 secs.......
  Noshiz

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/13
Posts: 13

1/23/14 12:47:28 PM#30
Yes! MMO's must be more dangerous. When you die you have to lose something, make that xp (like it was in Lineage 2) make it a good amount of durability that costs enough to be fixed (like in WoW) make it whatever you believe it's considered punishing and do it. Thought i am against being as punishing as lets say in Dark Souls (i know that it is not an MMO, i am just saying). Find something in the middle and do it!
  kilun

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/25/07
Posts: 686

1/23/14 1:11:45 PM#31

These games will always have a niche player base.  I say that with utmost respect as I have a few friends and clan mates that love DayZ.  I personally do not enjoy this type of game for more than a few moments.  Why?  Because I view it as a pointless.  As pointless is a FPS or Mechwarrior online that I currently play.  There is zero point to the game other than that thrill when your playing.  DayZ to me is like D2/D3 hardcore, PoE leagues, etc.

I wonder why Bill did not point out that challenges and thrills already exist and its up to the players to decide which adrenaline rush they prefer.  I prefer some NPC threat over a player threat.  One of the posters above put it perfectly, it disregards the human element.

For a survival type game, I find the human element in The Walking Dead pretty accurate.  Much better than "The Road" though, but games like DayZ seem to mimic it perfectly.  Brutal, harsh, uninviting.  Horrible.   

  GameByNight

Columnist / Podcast Host

Joined: 9/08/09
Posts: 82

1/23/14 2:09:57 PM#32
Originally posted by jmcdermottuk
Originally posted by GameByNight
Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

Why do people keep holding up Day Z as an example of what MMO players want when Day Z is NOT an MMO?

 

Just because some mod for an FPS game has permadeath, like many FPS games, it does not mean a sudden shift in MMO's has to take place. What may be acceptable in FPS games is not necessarily going to be acceptable in an MMO. They're two completely different genres.

 

It's bad enough trying to convince MMO players to populate FFA PvP Full Loot sandboxes already, the numbers show this clearly. You seriously think adding permadeath will encourage more people to play? Get real!

 

 

No one is advocating permadeath. That said, yes, we should be looking at the successes of Day Z because MMO players have rallied behind that game like few others in recent years.

 

I'm sorry I can't agree. I'm an MMO player, but also an FPS player. I accept what happens in Day Z purely based on the fact that it's an FPS game. Because of that, having 1 life and the threat of losing all my stuff is acceptable. That's the way a lot of FPS games have gone over the years and since there's no real sense of permanence it doesn't bother me.

 

As an MMO player I would be horrified if an MMO expected the same thing of me. The fact that your MMO char can exist for years almost dictates how much risk most people are going to be willing to take. This is already evident in sandbox FFA Full Loot games where we see low populations, compared to PvE themeparks with, literally, millions of players. The reason why? People don't like losing their shit when they've worked hard for years to get it.

 

You can't seriously expect those same players to start playing an MMO with even greater risk. I would posit that all those "MMO" players who are supporting Day Z are actually FPS players who also happen to play an MMO.

I would agree with your statement about FPS players playing MMOs and that these overlapping demographics certainly muddy the waters. On the other hand, I have to disagree about danger-minded designs not working due to gear loss. That only applies in your scenario of "working years to get it" but that mindset is purely from themepark raiding models.

 

A game like Darkfall, popularity aside, has a very functional full loot model precisely because gear means far less than a game like World of Warcraft. You can get it, lose it, and get it again with only a fraction of the time commitment, so long as you're willing to work with others if it is high-end gear. Full loot games cannot have steep acquisition requirements outside of certain circumstances like we see in EVE but even there systems such as insurance soften the blow.

 

That said, are games like this super popular? Exceptions aside, generally not. I don't think it's fair to blame that squarely at the feet of looting decisions, however. We also have to look at the communities they've built up, the progression design generally being quite different from the "norm" themepark model, marketing, support, communication.

 

I don't mean to suggest a game like Darkfall is going to be the next big hit, but I do believe a game that can marry danger, challenge, rewarding progression, and just plain fun gameplay could make an incredible MMORPG.

Writer of The Tourist, Tripping the Rift, and co-writer of Player Versus Player
Host of Game On: ESP Edition
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  GameByNight

Columnist / Podcast Host

Joined: 9/08/09
Posts: 82

1/23/14 2:15:09 PM#33
Originally posted by Purutzil

Honestly, danger should likely come in the form of PvE. As entertaining as "PvP" danger is, the fact is most people will instead use it to grief others who stand no chance, not creating a sense of risk but more just 'unfairness' as the one player attempts to grief the other.

As Yahtzee (Zero Punctuation) put out about pvp (in reference to rust, not quoted), "Hello are you friendly? Depends, is that a gun? Yes, is that a gun? Yes, Then lets be friends!"

 

No one wants to pvp unless they often have the upper hand (and a huge upper hand as in using a gun in a knife fight advantage). Using PvP for risk is fine but its just so rarely ever done in an interesting way. You either never get attacked, or you get hit by someone who has a clear advantage over you (aka a rogue gank in most games where a good majority of the time they can easily kill you, or run away like pansies after they fail). To me PvP just isn't a good way to build Risk anymore as players have become more and more 'grief happy' and even more pansy then they use to be.

 

Good PvE danger is the best way to create atmosphere, with a noteable penalty if you die such as losing experience or other factors making death a risk. Even just having say an experience penalty does wonders to creating a sense of danger to a game without even having to adjust difficulty. Without it, I don't think a good majority of players even realize just how much they really die on 'easy' content.

 

 

I can get behind this, too. PVP danger is only one kind. My main feeling is that game worlds need to feature areas that are truly dangerous and not simply kill-mills. Increase the risk, increase the reward, embed it in the world, and increase immersion. Despite references to Day Z, I would honestly prefer an MMO where most of the danger came from the environment rather than other players. Plain and simple, death and loss need to mean something if players are expected to care. The rest is on the designer to deliver on that without also creating a bully-simulator.

Writer of The Tourist, Tripping the Rift, and co-writer of Player Versus Player
Host of Game On: ESP Edition
Blogger at GameByNight.com

  Arglebargle

Elite Member

Joined: 6/13/07
Posts: 1086

1/23/14 2:52:17 PM#34

If you look at the 'Old School' argument for PvPish design, you run into a few rocks.   Even the UO and SWG devs moved away from their earlier design.  When Trammel came out, people migrated en masse to those servers.  Why?  Because they prefered that sort of game play.  SWG introduced choice via tagging.  Why?  Because players prefered choice to the alternative.

 

Designing decent Risk vs Reward mechanics is great.  Set up challenges for all levels of players.  And that can be done different ways.

 

PvP-centric MMORPG games have certain issues that are going to limit them.   An FPS or survival game doesn't usually, since that is what the game is about.   As long as the developer matches their expenses to their player base they'll do fine though.   

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

  Cypruska

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/24/06
Posts: 40

1/23/14 3:19:16 PM#35
Yes, it needs more danger.
Cypruska Xfire Miniprofile
  Elikal

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Joined: 2/09/06
Posts: 8067

“No path is darker then when your eyes are shut.” -Flemeth

1/23/14 4:16:21 PM#36

In theory yes, but in realy, alas, danger in MMOs often is just more grind. Kill, lose armor stability and XP, and you have to re-grind the money and the XP. So danger in a MMO is always a timesink.

I would say, MMos need more unexpected, more surprises, less generic stuff.

A forum is a place where people can discuss about different opinions. So what I don't get is, how people react offended when they come to a forum and then find... well different opinions. If a different opinion offends you, what are you even doing here?

  elocke

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1/23/14 4:23:14 PM#37
Yes, but within reason.  FFXI was a BLAST to play because each zone was dangerous.  However, it also sucked the life out of it because then you always had to group to do everything which took hours at times just to form a group and then hope it didn't fall apart once it was formed.  So there is a fine line between hard and fun to toe.

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  ste2000

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 4735

1/23/14 4:24:17 PM#38

As someone else put it, it needs more challenge not more danger.

Darkfall and MO has lots of danger but they are not necessarily challenging.

In fact they are unplayable by the masses because the risks vs reward is shifted too much on the risk factor.

  geel

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/07/04
Posts: 91

1/23/14 4:29:01 PM#39
Chris you are my hero.
  Volgore

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Posts deleted: 12589457

1/23/14 4:29:07 PM#40

Games need more danger, but if the danger comes from other players, there's always huge douchebaggery that usually comes along with it. Getting PK'ed over and over while losing everything is not danger, it's bad design.

More danger from NPCs would be ok. I wouldn't mind having some NPC bounty hunters or way better AI in general. But then the kids scream at their parents because they can't play with one hand and stuff themselves with Twinkies and Ho Hos with the other.

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