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  BigHatLogan

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/09/06
Posts: 695

 
OP  3/26/13 6:30:26 PM#1

I recently received an email from ArenaNet about GW2: The Razing.  It states "New Allies! New Dangers! New Items!"  So the first two are certainly reasonable and expected in MMORPGs, but the middle phrase struck me wrong, and even felt a bit insulting.  New Dangers?  Really?  Well I got to thinking about the concept of danger in MMORPGs and realized it really is missing from MMORPGs and single player games in general. 

 

When is the last time something actually scared you in an MMORPG?  Even if the monster I am fighting is challenging, it kills me and I have about a minute of downtime with no penalty whatsoever.  Even worse is MMORPGs that allow a player to self resurrect, they might as well just skip the dying part.  At worst a player will get a minor debuff for an inconsequential amount of time.

 

A can recall a couple instances of being scared.  EVE online will scare players.  This is because a mistake can cause you to lose virtual treasures.  That's a bad sign when one of the scariest multiplayer games is based on spreadsheets.  I know Wizardry Online released with perma-death which certainly causes fear, but the game itself was pretty bad at least at lower levels.I never played EQ1, but i heard horror stories from players that certainly sounded like they felt fear.  Perhaps due to xp loss penalties and impossible corpse runs. 

 

Single player games are often times even worse than MMORPGs with the overall lack of danger.  Many many SRPGs let you save your game whenever you want.  Which of course translates into saving your game every few feet, or even between swings in battle in case a mistake is made.  Dark Souls is a notable exception to this with their soul loss and bonfire system.  Even the old Final Fantasy games required you to get to a save point rather than save every couple steps.  Final Fantasy is far scarier than Skyrim because you don't get to save where you want, and Final Fantasy is loaded to the brim with retarded monkeys and big goofy birds. The new X-Com has a brilliant ironman mode and is a quite scary game, its actually nice to see a game with a scary theme actually play scary. 

 

Does anyone else feal that lack of danger makes MMORPGs and sRPGs feel stale?  Are their any games out there that I am missing that have successfully caused terror in players?  I'd especially love to hear about MMORPGs that pull it off.  To be clear I dont't mean dark theme or scary graphics, those may scare a 5 year old.  When I talk about fear and terror I mean that a player will be scared or upset when they are defeated.  I don't care how scary a boss looks when it jumps out at me, if i can just hop back up and fight him again when I die that is not scary in my book.

Are you a Pavlovian Fish Biscuit Addict? Get Help Now!

I will play no more MMORPGs until somethign good comes out!

  rojoArcueid

Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 5577

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

3/26/13 6:33:45 PM#2
After playing Dark Souls everything else is a walk to the park. I love GW2 and cant wait for all these new things, but if New Dangers dont mean that kind of danger then its not really a big deal.

My endgame begins with character creation and ends with a new mmorpg

  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6744

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

3/26/13 6:41:16 PM#3

I felt scared in EQ2 when first came out and in FFXI because for the most part,you couldn't run,so if something went bad you had to either fight or die.MOST games you can simply run a short distance and the mob/s retreat.

Sometimes the fear factor was totally unrealistic and actually pissed me off.Example in Vanguard,there was an outpost and as soon as i came within a certain dsitance the whole outpost would attack me at unreal speeds.There was no realism in the aggro or range or speed at which they caught me,like 200 yds in 5 seconds lol.

The only real time ,i have actually been on the edge and kind of freaked out was playing an old xpansion for Quake.it was an expansion done by NIN,so the whole sound and music was eerie.Turn off the lights and it was really freaky lol.

MMORPG's are basically linear,connect the dot questing games now,hardly anything there realsitic or scary.I can't imagine whoever thought ,that if i was a Warrior in real life,i would be going around asking every npc/person if i can do a quest for them.

WHOA kill 10 armadillo in Commonlands???No WAY .,that is frightening.

Take that Stein to your friend?? Wowsers,i don't think i can handle that frightening task as an elite Warlock.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Napolianboo#p/u/15/rCYLLQCNc1w
Samoan Diamond

  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7246

3/26/13 6:49:01 PM#4

The last time I was scared was during Script Stealing in AoW. Heat pounding andrinalin pumping. As a newb, you're stealing a lotto tickect that could change the game for you, make you rich. All the while being chased by enimies, and sometimes "friendly"  players. Incredible stuff.

 

The only other time I felt like that in a mmo was when my 2's partner and I were at 1790 about to hit 1800 for the first time for our arena weapons in WoW. To bad the took that out of WoW. 

 

The only time I've been frightend was on a late night in TSW doing a questin in this haunted mansion. Creepy as #@%^

 

In my opinion players have to be the threat. Systems need to be built around players, not NPCs. 

When I eat chocolate chip pie it just doesn't feel like chocolate chip cookies. The texture, the consistency, it's just not the same and this is disappointing.

  Eir_S

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/07/11
Posts: 4701

GW2 socialist.

3/26/13 6:54:31 PM#5
I don't think I've ever felt particularly in "Danger" in an MMO.  The last game that made me feel a sense of actual fear was Amnesia: The Dark Descent.  That is one awesome game, but I can't play through it again, it gave me gaming PTSD lol
  CalmOceans

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/06/11
Posts: 1825

3/26/13 7:08:28 PM#6
If there's no consequence, there's no reason to fear. Punishment has been completely removed in MMO since WoW.
  Everwest

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/13
Posts: 75

3/26/13 7:14:06 PM#7

While punishment can increase the feeling of danger, generally a lack of danger is due to a lack of real challenge.  Often times, even having to restart an encounter--even if you get to start right away without having lost anything but time--is suffienct to make most people's heart rate elevate and feel the fear to some extent.  It's that anticipation that causes me to hear my nearby gamer's screaming obscenities as they realize that they are actually losing.  Even having to start over from 3 minutes ago can create a real sense of danger. 

Ultimately the sense of danger stems from a relationship between vigilance and consequence.  It's your body's response to the sense that if you don't pay very careful attention, something bad will happen.  While punishment can escalate that sense of danger, there's a point of diminishing returns that generally does not require the punishment to be significant.  Excessive punishments tend to simply frustrate most players.  However, as a notable exception, some people work differently and require a greater risk to experience that thrill--unfortunately, those people are the ones susceptible to gambling addiction and other thrill-seeking activities.

  User Deleted
3/26/13 7:15:16 PM#8

Only game that scared me in that manner was EQ1 when it had harsher death penalties.

The risk of loosing my stuff in the bottom of a dungeon somewhere made going into them very scary. The general mazelike/claustrophobic designs for many of them added a bit to my fears as well, once you were deep in one, you were pretty stuck with no where to run if something went wrong.

It happened occasionally, but I was always able to get a rogue/necro to drag my corpse back to me before it expired.

 

I was hoping Wizardry would deliver similar experiences, but with the way souls work characters feel really disposable. Same with Eve online, replacing a lost ship didn't seem that big of a deal, but then again I never bothered buying anything that I couldn't afford to replace. Still enjoyed both games though.

Ironmanning Xcom EU was fun and challenging as well, but again there was that sense of disposability once you had a bunch of ranked soldiers. Starting off was pretty rough though. 

  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

3/26/13 7:15:20 PM#9
Originally posted by bcbully

In my opinion players have to be the threat. Systems need to be built around players, not NPCs. 

 

The problem I see with player generated threat is content gating.  Unless a mechanism exists to prevent it, even if there is no reward for doing so (or even a penalty) the game devolves into high levels running around sniping low levels for the fun of it.

 

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

  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

3/26/13 7:17:32 PM#10
Originally posted by CalmOceans
If there's no consequence, there's no reason to fear.

 

I agree.  If there is nothing to fear, there is no reason one would ever fear anything.

 

 

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

  rojoArcueid

Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 5577

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

3/26/13 7:19:52 PM#11
Originally posted by XAPKen
Originally posted by bcbully

In my opinion players have to be the threat. Systems need to be built around players, not NPCs. 

 

The problem I see with player generated threat is content gating.  Unless a mechanism exists to prevent it, even if there is no reward for doing so (or even a penalty) the game devolves into high levels running around sniping low levels for the fun of it.

 

yeah thats really a big problem. Unless this is fixed somehow, we have to rely on NPC generated threat in PvE. But that can be improved as well. Wizardry has some good ideas, but they are executing it wrong, everything in that game feels wrong lol.

My endgame begins with character creation and ends with a new mmorpg

  Rusque

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1721

3/26/13 7:25:58 PM#12

The only video game that would cause fear is one in which someone comes to my house and chops off my arm in real life as punishment.

I really never understood the appeal of perma-death games or severe consequence games. I don't feel scared, I actually care about my avatar less than I would in a game in which I get to keep him. Whenever I play hardcore mode in PoE or some game with similar death system, I just view my character as a temporary resource for some entertainment, but my main is always invariably on the softcore side. That's the character I care about, the one I want to develop and see grow because I know I'll always have it.

I must be missing the fear factor so many people experience from those games, I never get the adrenaline rush or the near death high.

  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7246

3/26/13 7:31:18 PM#13
Originally posted by XAPKen
Originally posted by bcbully

In my opinion players have to be the threat. Systems need to be built around players, not NPCs. 

 

The problem I see with player generated threat is content gating.  Unless a mechanism exists to prevent it, even if there is no reward for doing so (or even a penalty) the game devolves into high levels running around sniping low levels for the fun of it.

 

In AoW there is no content gating outside of dungeons. An example of the type of player driven systems that AoW has in spades is Guild Cart Escorts.

 

The rewards for the robber are minimal. You get xp pills that you can eat or sell, plus evil rating. The rewards are better for the escorter and his guild. There are always more escorts than bandits. Most of the time those escorting will band against the the lone bandit. 

 

Low levels do get robbed though, but the genius behind this system is that you MUST be in a guild to do escorts. When a guild cart gets robbed there is a system message that goes out to guildmembers of the person who was robbed. "Jack Dow has lost a escort. 22L liang" something like that. His guildies show up and protect him.

 

There is no single level game design that we've been getting in the west (EVE...) that can evolve into a good player driven system. The designs are much too shallow. Good design takes thought and passion for gaming. 

When I eat chocolate chip pie it just doesn't feel like chocolate chip cookies. The texture, the consistency, it's just not the same and this is disappointing.

  Gormogon

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 156

3/26/13 7:35:33 PM#14

The fear of dying in a game is proportional to what one stands to lose; even where there's no material cost to the player's character, there's the time and effort spent by the player to achieve something.

 

Let's take a look at the Mad King's Clocktower jumping puzzle in Guild Wars 2's Halloween celebration.   The player's character doesn't lose anything by missing a jump and falling tragically to his death.   However, when the player nears the end of the puzzle, falling off results in zero reward for the effort put in during that run.  Repeated failures potentially add up to hours of effort wasted for some players, and even approaching the top is rare enough for many players on any given run that missing one of the final jumps can be devastating.  It's not unexpected then, that a player's heart will be racing as he reaches those final jumps, and that he experiences fear that he will miss and have wasted that run, along with all the other runs it will take to get back to the same spot.

 

In an open world context, progress made toward certain treasures or achievements can sometimes take a long time, and failure can sometimes mean "starting over."  A player can legitimately feel fear as he approaches the goal and knows that character death will negate all the progress made.  It's funny that the early Final Fantasy games were brought up, because without a doubt trying to complete a major level/dungeon knowning that death meant starting over and dealing with random encounters all over again could be terrifying as far as games go.   Respawning enemies, for example, are not necessarily so different.  Of course, I wouldn't say that "danger" seems to be a priority for most MMO developers, but it's not always completely absent either.

  GGrimm

Novice Member

Joined: 3/12/13
Posts: 50

3/26/13 7:36:09 PM#15

I prefer the word consequence. Who wouldn't rather play a game where your actions had a consequence rather than a game where your actions had none?

Kill 1000 rats and "saved" the city? 10 minutes later... time to clear out those pesky rats again.

Kill the Lich-King in an epic struggle. Can you take up residence in his awesome castle of awesomeness? Nope, respawn just occurred....

Wouldn't you prefer your actions to have an ACTUAL effect on an MMO rather than just be told by your quest-giver that your heroic actions had a huge impact, to see a moment later they haven't?

The risk of loss (of XP, of skills, of gold/money, or time) is one kind of consequence that can create a sense of danger, but not all consequences need be of the dangerious variety.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12278

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

3/26/13 7:58:50 PM#16
Originally posted by XAPKen
Originally posted by bcbully

In my opinion players have to be the threat. Systems need to be built around players, not NPCs. 

The problem I see with player generated threat is content gating.  Unless a mechanism exists to prevent it, even if there is no reward for doing so (or even a penalty) the game devolves into high levels running around sniping low levels for the fun of it.

The problem there is level disparity, not content gating.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  Everwest

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/13
Posts: 75

3/26/13 9:19:32 PM#17
Originally posted by Gormogon

The fear of dying in a game is proportional to what one stands to lose; even where there's no material cost to the player's character, there's the time and effort spent by the player to achieve something.

 

This is not entirely true-- that is, it is not linearly proportional.  There are diminishing returns on excess punishment.  You only have a limited capacity for anxiety (meaningfully) before a threshold is reached.  In excess of that, you're only increasing player frustration. 

Some people can feel no greater sense of fear by losing a week's worth of progress than by losing ten minute's worth.  However, they're much more likely to ragequit in the case of the former.

  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 3202

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

3/26/13 9:49:55 PM#18


Originally posted by BigHatLogan
I never played EQ1, but i heard horror stories from players that certainly sounded like they felt fear.  Perhaps due to xp loss penalties and impossible corpse runs.

Kithicor Forest in EverQuest was a very "dangerous" zone for me. Making the run from Qeynos to Freeport was filled with danger and I was tense for most of the trip. You are correct in thinking that the death penalty was the reason for this. I died a few times in Kithicor Forest and it was no picnic getting my corpse back. The death penalty meant a significant loss of Experience, even de-leveling sometimes, and time. You respawned wherever your soul was bound (usually in a city) and depending on where you died, had 2-6 zones to cross naked unless you stopped by the bank for extra gear. EQ1 made the game "dangerous."


Originally posted by BigHatLogan
Does anyone else feal that lack of danger makes MMORPGs and sRPGs feel stale?  Are their any games out there that I am missing that have successfully caused terror in players?  I'd especially love to hear about MMORPGs that pull it off.  To be clear I dont't mean dark theme or scary graphics, those may scare a 5 year old.  When I talk about fear and terror I mean that a player will be scared or upset when they are defeated.  I don't care how scary a boss looks when it jumps out at me, if i can just hop back up and fight him again when I die that is not scary in my book.

I have not felt "danger" in an MMO for a long, long while. City of Heroes was the last. That death penalty meant experience "debt", meaning that a player had to earn twice the experience until the debt was "paid off." It slowed down an experience/leveling system that was significant.

Dungeons and raids have also lost their "danger" aspect, not due to the game, but due to the internet and other players. A player can find ALL the information and even strategies on how to "beat" dungeons and raids anywhere on the internet. Dungeons and raids are very rarely "experienced" anymore, unless you happen to be one of the first ones there. It is very hard to find a group of players who want to figure out a group experience on their own. Most players want to get to the boss and loot as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you're there to experience the story or figure out the dungeon/raid on your own, you may be promptly kicked out of the group. There is nothing wrong with a quick and efficient game play style. It is just not how I want to play a game.

Way back when (lol), the internet was not as accessible. Many players did not even know how to find the information. Players today are much more internet savvy. They have easy access to YouTube and Google has improved 100 fold. Wikis were non-existent then. Message boards abound with many more "fan sites" for each game than before. Yes, if a player knew where to look, they could find the information. More players just did not try.

I enjoy that the info is there and easily accessible, but I restrain myself. I will try to accomplish something on my own first. If, after many tries, I feel stuck, I will search. Most players search first, then copy. That takes the "danger" and surprise out of games for me, so I try to refrain.

The death penalties today have made "danger" non-existent for me. More often than not, they equate to a fast travel system where you get to choose where to respawn and pay a couple coppers for equipment repairs, if any at all. Where is the "danger" if there is no significant penalty? Is it dangerous to walk across 2 high rise buildings on a wire if one is secured to a rope with a net 5 feet below them? Maybe if you misstep and land on the wire with your legs straddling either side. (ouch!)

[EDIT]
Another thing I feel adds to no sense of danger for me today is the lack of connection to my character in many games. Skyrim does have a save whenever you feel like it mode, but I feel a connection to my character and experience tense moments due to my connection with the character.

I also miss the tense feeling of sneaking through an enemies lines,knowing that if I get caught, I am dead.

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

3/26/13 9:53:16 PM#19
If I want to feel fear and danger, I just log into a game's official forum and say hello.
  Purutzil

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 2861

The Critical Hit Pretzel!

3/26/13 10:01:13 PM#20

Exp penalties were often times the big 'danger' factor. I know in Ragnarok for example death was... very harsh. Losing 1% experience doesn't sound like much but when your in that 90+ range, specially trans, it is quite a brutal loss of progress. One mistake can net hours of play you built up that day to have been void. 

 

There needs to be more emphasis on the risk of death i feel. With 'max level' being pretty much a standerd (no one wants to sadly 'level' as a main factor it needs 'end game') it kind of means some way needs to be pushed to punish death. "Repair' bills' are NOT really doing anything in that department outside an annoyance. 

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