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General Discussion

General Discussion 

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

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Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/16/11
Posts: 2295

7/05/13 7:36:40 PM#61
Guild Wars 2 used cheap cop outs on rather fair amount of subjects actually. They went like 60/70% in and they stopped there lol. Combat, story, downleveling, crafting, dungeons, ...

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/10
Posts: 22

7/05/13 7:44:21 PM#62
Firefall's world initially is not too big. is actually just a couple of zones. but as the article says its dynamic. plus new zones are being unlocked BY PLAYERS every day. So who knows how big can it get?

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 5659

7/05/13 8:07:09 PM#63
Originally posted by fiontar

Guildwars 2 took some very important steps in the right direction with level scaling to allow most of the world to remain viable content once you reach the level cap.

However, they stopped short of the potential of the system they pioneered in a way that makes you want to shake the current developers until they show some signs of intelligence and comprehension.

The problem with GW2 is that level scaling is not aggressive enough, which means that lower level zones are much easier than higher level ones, even if the gap is exponentially more narrow than in a traditional MMO.

If scaling really made low level zones almost as challenging as high level zones, they could then make them almost as rewarding to play in. This was the stated goal while the game was in development. Sometime around Fall of 2011, a year before release, they were saying that scaling would allow you to earn XP and level appropriate loot almost as efficiently in low level zones as in high level zones as a level 80 character.

If they had carried through with this, the entire world would be equally playable and equally rewarding even with a level cap character. They had the solution to the problem highlighted in this article with in grasp and they  blew it. I still can comprehend why, I guess some of the developers were just too afraid to fully embrace the new paradigm that GW2 proposed, but only partially brought to reality.

I don't agree with this. I think forcing a down leveling is a kick in the balls to time and effort you put into leveling UP your character. And in one cheap ass mechanic, they take it all away. I don't want to have a level 10 zone "Equally Playable" Why the hell should I bother leveling then?


Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 6432

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

7/05/13 8:11:53 PM#64
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
Originally posted by fiontar

I don't agree with this. I think forcing a down leveling is a kick in the balls to time and effort you put into leveling UP your character. And in one cheap ass mechanic, they take it all away. I don't want to have a level 10 zone "Equally Playable" Why the hell should I bother leveling then?

you level up to engage in the higher level zones as your character progress through the game. If you happen to go back to a low level zone for any reason your level downscales so the mobs in that low level map are still challenging to you (right now its kinda still easy so they could make it a lot more challenging). Once you get back to your high level zone your level goes back up. It makes perfect sense and every mmo should offer that. That means no matter how low level an area is you will always have a challenge if you happen to enter it. If new mmos dont do this in the future, they better remove leveling entirely and have horizontal progression.


Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 6432

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

7/05/13 8:20:42 PM#65

WHile i agree with Mark Kern i have to say that until the dynamic events stop repeating and actually permanently evolving this can be problematic. I love what GW2 did but the dynamic events should have a permanent result and keep evolving from there.


Let new players miss the early stage of a dynamic event if they logged in after it ended and let them engage the content from where they picked it up and keep going forward from there. An Always changing world, never repeating events and if something repeats, it repeats with a different outcome ( centaurs took a city, you kill them all and save the city. More centaurs plan on attacking again? let them come with more artillery or bigger groups and different tactics while you prepare for heavy assault and fortify the town of whatever).


DOnt repeat the same dynamic events over and over. I hope GW2 starts doing that someday, and if FireFall does that it will definitelly make it definitelly one of the best mmos out there as well. And hopefully teach the industry to stop wasting money on bad designs.

EDIT: this way the developers can keep putting content on every existing map because they really change for good and always feel different. So whenever they decide to add new maps with new content its even a bigger hit and the old content is still fresh and changing. Thats a real living world in game.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/06
Posts: 341

7/05/13 8:22:32 PM#66
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.

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/05/07
Posts: 299

If it ain't broke, dont fix it!

7/05/13 8:25:33 PM#67

I think if MMO's switch to a horizontal progression mechanics verses their current vertical systems then all zones can remain alive and offer challenges to all players.  Just to be clear, in a horizontal system a player gets more skills as he progresses through the word where the player in the vertical system gets upgrades to current skills.

So a player who is new would have the same fireball skill as a player who has played the game for 5 years and they would both find some challenge in killing a bunny in the starting zone.  But the older player may have decided to skill up their sword the last time they were in this area but now they want to work on their magic skills.

And in a good horizontal system the older player may be only marginally stronger than the new character due to upgraded armor and skill synergies.

And now we can live in worlds where the dev's don't have to create an entirely new zone for each rung of the vertical system but instead thoroughly enjoy the entire world with people of all skill levels.



Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/05
Posts: 186

7/05/13 8:33:48 PM#68
All advertising aside, it is a pretty important topic.  Such a huge waste of resources.  Honestly I cannot believe the system as it is today has lasted as long as it has.  So perhaps we could start a list just for curiosity, what MMO's do not have empty middle start zones, or do not get top heavy as they age?

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 576

7/05/13 9:02:54 PM#69

Like some already said: Remove zones. Don't seperate players, and you don't have to to build for a specific level range. Next, remove levels, so you can't build for a specific level range.

Take a look back at UO and others back in the day. Seamless world, monsters of all difficulty everywhere. Still arranged so that the stronger they are, they tend be further from civilization, but don't place them in specific location (unless it's something like a camp or dungeon). Make it more concentric (logically speaking, not a real perfect circle..), instead of squares that coexist next to each other. This way players have to go back through the "starting" areas to go to town etc. Distribute the high level content so that players have to criss-cross through everything else. Place a higher level area in a overall low level area. Yes, people will stagger at first, but if you do not raise the level too much, it's also a challenge people will come to appreciate. Do the same thing not only on a world-basis, but also within dungeons.

Basically, mix everything. If you line up zonesaccording to difficulty like pearls on a necklace, of course there is no reason to come back. Especially if each zone is self-sufficient, with merchants, bank, quest-givers, monsters, dungeons etc.

If you revisit everything on a near daily basis because at every time you need something from all corners, nothing will be old. You will often take the main road because it's safe and fast, but this road only leads from city A to the northeast to a small crossroads, where you can go northwest to B, or straight east to C. Alternatively, from A you can go southeast to D. So your favority dungeon is southeast of C, and usually you go to B after that because you like that town more, but now you want to go to D because north of D is the favorite spot of a guild mate, and you wanted to help him out or something. While the road itself is safe and fast, it's a detour if you go back northeast to C, take the road from there, going west until the crossroads, go southwest to A, southeast to D and northeast to meet up with your guild mate. You might want to go straight south (more or less) through the woods. And it happens that straight east from A is the place you loved to stay most until like a month ago. What happens now is that you revisited what usually would be old content which you'd never see again, and it was totally voluntarily and, as you never went that way before, felt actually like new content.

I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore


Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/05
Posts: 253

I have a wandering mind, but that's ok, it brings back presents.

7/05/13 9:17:47 PM#70

And here I thought the 90% wasted space he was going to talk about was the long stretches of nothing interesting that you have to slowly cross in so many games.  

Just to be clear, I find 20 square kilometers of bushes, grass and sand is just as boring as the same place with a velociraptor every 2 meters, it's just harder to cross with constant fighting. On the other hand, if you need to kill tons of velociraptors, it's not so bad, but on yet another hand, wouldn't half a kilometer square be more than enough for that? (3 hands? Who the heck has 3 hands? )

Lost my mind, now trying to lose yours...


Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/13
Posts: 259

"You are mine, I'm yours, and if we die, we die. But first we'll live." Ygritte

7/05/13 9:25:17 PM#71

Again with you selling your game... atleast come out and say this is just a ad for your game :P

On to your article.

Here is an idea....REDUCE THE COST!!

3.5 million dollars a zone?!?! are you insane?!l If these are the costs for an MMO and your being serious then MMO developers need to sit and learn to make this easier to do.

That money is WAY wasteful.

Another idea. Eliminate the map!! I never understood this about MMOs. Why does everyone know every nit and cranny in the known planet already when the game starts? I was always lost in UO and I loved it!!!

If i got to far from town.... I was like "Oh shyt, better grab my pack donkey and haul ass!"

I know there was a map in UO but still my point is.... You could get lost very easily in UO and I never once thought "Hey what zone am I in?" it was more "Oooooh I wonder whats in the cave." Which usually led to my death but it was fun!!

I am not saying delete the feature but make it a challenge and something that players earn or hell even could sell or trade. How long did it take us to discover all of our world? We are still making discoveries aren't we? I honestly believe that zones are the most stupid trend in MMOs. They need to go away. WoW did zones pretty well but we can evolve and move along.

Stop spending 3.5 million dollars on zones also. jeezus seriously....

Just my 2 cent.



MMORPG Gamers/Developers need a reality check!


Elite Member

Joined: 6/17/11
Posts: 7808

7/05/13 9:32:52 PM#72

So what really bugs me is that every "column" from Grummz ends up being about how Firefall does it right. 

So the agenda is to showcase Firefall being so much better than the other games, it really takes away from the article, as I feel the thought process behind this "how can we showcase Firefall in a positive light" and then write it.

I understand the pain of making MMORPGs, it is a very frustrating rollercoaster ride at times, and I understand wanting to promote your own product, but it does not  come of as sincere but rather as an agenda to promote Firefall.

I still hope to see Firefall be very successful, I have a lot of friends in the gaming industry and I know how hard they work, putting their hearts and souls into creating games, so I never like to see any games underperform.



Novice Member

Joined: 8/25/04
Posts: 455

As famous as the unknown soldier

7/05/13 11:06:11 PM#73

interesting, theres something fishy about  this topic,  i just dont get it.

back in 1996 , when 3d developement was in its infancy , my friends and i used to make 3d environments randomly, ie: random terrain features, depending on the  height above sea level, automatic placement of various types of grass trees, and random river generation.  and wow, some times  the environments created were jaw dropping.

this was in 1996-98, with graphics from that time. 

and in this article i read that everything is hand placed?  O.M.G., what a waste., if this is true, but i just dont believe it :/ 


Gonada Dahung,over 20 years of mmorpg's and counting....Please Lord, let someone make a game that had all the awesomeness of UO, EQ and EVE...


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/24/11
Posts: 7

7/05/13 11:16:29 PM#74
Good article. If zones are level-based, this is always going to happen. The zone method is a traditional feature of RPGs. If you want to exploit your zones more as a developer, you have to do something about the levelling. Dynamic content to match the local population is a nice idea but ultimately impractical, unless we are talking group I stances where the content can be properly calculated according to the fixed group of players. Otherwise, it will be too unpredictable. Will all the players in the zone rush to wipe out the boss spawn (too easy) or will half the local population be AFK (too hard/trustrating for those who try). If the beasties level/power changes in real time however...

But as always, I'm a levelless player-based faction territory control warfare advocate. None of this matters.

Signature’s are a waste of space.



Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 16617

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

7/05/13 11:26:20 PM#75
Originally posted by grummz
I'm going to leave Firefall out of my next article. See if that prediction is that people will still find fault. ;)

You have to understand the way it looks, your position is not one of someone on the sidelines looking over the field, you're on it and part of the competition. When you're criticizing the competition's approach/philosophy, while also mentioning your own approach in a corrective sense. It can fairly easily be taken out of context.

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


Novice Member

Joined: 9/13/11
Posts: 26

7/05/13 11:43:39 PM#76
This problem is exactly why I love GW2's approach and hope the pull it off well in the long run. I always have been disappointed by the fact that once you're higher lvl in a game then everything under you us useless. If GW2 can keep up incentives like gear drops and such spread out through all zones that would be a huge step in the right direction. Example: they release a new gear set, and make it so you can get helm drop in zone A from these DE's, and gloves can drop from zone B from THESE DE's etc.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/20/13
Posts: 446

7/05/13 11:58:30 PM#77
The same can be said of 90% of this forum space.

Novice Member

Joined: 9/09/09
Posts: 2

Play to win

7/06/13 12:39:58 AM#78

I'd guess this is what Gw2 did right. in the sens there are world bosses in the low level areas that offer max level rewards/skin drop that are worth a bit and such.

now most zones don't have this which really they should add more of these and you'll see more people around when the event happens.

and ya this seems about right most content leveling zone wise is almost useless after the player finish it.

hell rift made first two low level zones viable again for high levels for a chance of cash shop mount from doing the events in the zones which allow many higher levels who wanted a chance at the mount to do so if they were lucky.

these events/rng rewards for something rare and cool it be a skin/mount/item in low levels that are gain by max levels I welcome it. I'd go around killing few mobs help low levels while in gw2 waiting for Shadow boss to spawn I get thank yous from time to time boss comes it dies check box if nothing come back next day.

Fear me


Advanced Member

Joined: 4/02/13
Posts: 445

7/06/13 2:29:52 AM#79

Star Wars Galaxies was well-designed in this regard.  Each planet had a reason to poke around  no matter what skill  levels you had attained.


Also, this article called to mind a cartoon I saw some time ago. It had an MMO toon sitting stationary in one place whilst MOBS would run up to him only to to die. As the character leveled, he never moved, but the mob levels increased as did the loot drops.  The caption of the cartoon was something like: MMO Slot Machine.


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7/06/13 3:33:43 AM#80

This is a bane of MMO's we have talked about before, even if you are not a content locust you will get quickly through the early zones and never see them again.

I am not sure players would mind being leveled down when in starter zones, as long as they had a reason to be there.

As to the idea of an organic MMO, not sure Firefall will deliver on this, MMOs simply are not that advanced yet. You would need an AI to do that right!

One way this could be done would be to not have player levels. Your crafting skills and so on go up in ranks, but combat just relies on your own skill. Somewhat more twitch based but without long ranged sniping. Designed to make sure players want to be in a group.

Territory based gains with faction warfare would give players a reason to play without  leveling. Sort of DAOC meets PS2 via Terra.

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