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General Discussion

General Discussion 

News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: MMO Development Needs Change

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126 posts found

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 2151

7/12/13 7:52:06 PM#61
Originally posted by danwest58
No we need fewer MMOs we do not need more.  That is why the market has gone down hill is because instead of creating a cheaper single/mutliplayer game every publisher thinks they will become the next Blizzard.  They are dead wrong Blizzard was something that happens once in a while with a good product its not the standard nor will it ever be.  The weak publishers need to stop making MMOs and the few strong Publishers need to continue to change their product without having to worry to get non MMO players into MMOs because thats the only way they will make a profit cause the market is saturated with MMOs or WANNBE MMOs.  

Agreed.  I'm tired of gamers making excuses for the genre and blaming the current slump on EQ / WoW copycatting.  Too many game makers either suck or are clueless and are making crappy games period.  I highly doubt it would make a difference if these same companies with their current lackluster games would be any better if they tried something completely new.


The business of making MMOs needs to be streamlined and frankly, there are too many developers being paid too high of a salary for the quality of their work.  They're incredibly top heavy with far too many administrators who offer very little productivity for the cost.  Something else must be going on here, because increases in technology and general MMO knowledge should be reducing costs, not adding to them.  Technologically speaking, EQ was ahead of its time and much more complex than many of today's MMOs in regards to quality and quantity of systems, yet they managed to make the game relatively cost effective for that era.


Elite Member

Joined: 5/24/10
Posts: 1631

7/12/13 8:03:02 PM#62

"These days, with millions of polygons and multiple materials and shaders, a single monster can easily take 4-6 weeks to complete and sometimes 8 weeks or more for a boss creature."


Only Blizzard takes that long to make content.  I just dont buy the excuse anymore.  After having played Rift since release, watching them release entire raid zones, many with completely new models, etc and so forth, in as much time as Mark is saying Blizzard takes to create 1 boss mob.  Yeah, i call BS.



"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

- Friedrich Nietzsche


Novice Member

Joined: 5/25/13
Posts: 187

7/12/13 8:31:30 PM#63

Originally posted by Hrimnir

"These days, with millions of polygons and multiple materials and shaders, a single monster can easily take 4-6 weeks to complete and sometimes 8 weeks or more for a boss creature."


Only Blizzard takes that long to make content.  I just dont buy the excuse anymore.  After having played Rift since release, watching them release entire raid zones, many with completely new models, etc and so forth, in as much time as Mark is saying Blizzard takes to create 1 boss mob.  Yeah, i call BS.





Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 149

Knowledge is the enemy of faith.

7/12/13 8:33:18 PM#64

Too early to call this. In case you hadn't been aware this idea of co-development has been around for a while now. Kick-Sstarter anyone? After a couple of these titles are released we'll be in a much better position to judge the effectiveness of the methodology.


I personally feel that player involvement in development cycles can be very detrimental. The community is divided and by and large, if the players were creative geniuses they'd be developing games too, not playing them.


Picasso could create art; his fans could not.





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

7/12/13 8:40:45 PM#65
Originally posted by FoeHammerJT

Too early to call this. In case you hadn't been aware this idea of co-development has been around for a while now. Kick-Sstarter anyone? After a couple of these titles are released we'll be in a much better position to judge the effectiveness of the methodology.


I personally feel that player involvement in development cycles can be very detrimental. The community is divided and by and large, if the players were creative geniuses they'd be developing games too, not playing them.


Picasso could create art; his fans could not.

It still took people to come and see the art to realize it was a masterpiece. That should be saved and cherished and put in museums for generations to see.

Otherwise its just a beautiful painting no one will get to see.

Also comparing the two mediums doesn't work. Picasso didn't care if he made a dime off his paintings. He did it cause he wanted.

Developers want OUR money. So shouldnt I have a say about how you take MY money?

If not....I have some swamp land I want to sell you. You can't see it though and I have no photographs or deed or any actual proof I own it. Give me all your $$$$ pls?

MMORPG Gamers/Developers need a reality check!


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/01/08
Posts: 10

7/12/13 8:44:07 PM#66

in fact the real problem is the player it self  always want pay to win instead start in dark and learning the game just like U.O

in Ultima online at is first time player have to discover every thing on the whit no clue for how this world work 

but now before the go out every 1 already know every thing about game 

THIS IS BORING ---- I WANT REAL ADVENTURE --- i am the first generation of gamer and i play all mmo since late 80's 

but now i just have to play a month to get at the final big boss whitout make any effort and after reading the story same thing nothing to do and wait for the next story 

well i guess until our civilisation grow up in wisdom nothing really interesting will come out 

so far  Minecraft beat every other mmo for 1 thing ( we have to create our story by ourself 

but minecraft still limited so far  PS: stop making game for money but for player have A REAL challenge to survive


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 110

7/12/13 9:45:07 PM#67

"As developers, we need to share our work early and often, before we are so far along that we can’t make changes and adapt to players."


You may have a NEED to share your work early and often but, from my perspective, were I to develop a game, I would develop what I was going to develop and share nothing with anyone outside the company about anything until it was time for open beta.  My take is that developers don't put enough effect into closed beta to make the game viable for open beta, so they get the crap kicked out of them during open beta.


My philosophy is two-fold... single-player game design companies don't have a closed or open beta, they make their games and release them, which leads me to the second fold of my philosophy... if you build it, they will come.


I understand MMOs are a whole lot bigger than single-player games, which is why there's a need for beta, at all, but you have to do absolutely everything you can during closed beta, not just pawn it off to three or four months of closed beta, and then 18 months of open.  Of all the beta's I've participated in, I've actually found little wrong with any of them, except for some of the more extensive mechanics, and that's as it should be.


No, players need to stay out of having any information for the game whatsoever until it's time for open beta.


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 563

7/12/13 10:25:09 PM#68
Originally posted by Craio
Isn't there a market voor an 'mmo-engine' so far it seems as each mmo developer makes their own...

One would think so, however using a "3rd party" engine creates unique problems all it's own.  The engine creator can only guess at all the possible features a dev house may want.  This often results in even MORE time & $ devoted to tearing down the toolset/engine and re-engineering it to fit one's game IE SWTOR. 

Conversely it can be so modularized towards plug and play toolsets that one environment/feature feels like a mirror/copy of everything else IE Cryptics various attempts at this.


To date several companies have tried marketing toolsets/engines to sell/license to mmo makers, but so far none have really worked out all that greatly.   Part of the problem in this regard is only a moron is going to drop a dime for an "unproven" engine(case in point again SWTOR) while the only way to "prove" an engine is by actually making an mmo with it.  Great however, the companies building  mmo's just to market an engine are generally focused on that and not many of the other hurdles involed with mmo design(the crack Crptic kept falling into).  And once you have a "proven" engine it's now 2-5 yrs old after your own development, then by the time your toolset/engine buyer gets it, tweaks it, then builds an mmo around it you start getting close to the decade old engine mark.


As far as the article yea very nicely thought out


Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 6

7/12/13 11:32:45 PM#69
how about you stop reinventing new graphic engines/class system/UI for every new game, but rather consolidate and expand than keep re-inventing the wheel for every car u want to sell?

Novice Member

Joined: 4/07/04
Posts: 3726

7/13/13 12:05:05 AM#70

I agree with the article. So many mistakes could be avoided if players could give feedback earlier on in the process. Whether it's weekends, monthly or even quarterly, these benchmarks would allow the devs to shape the game based on feedback of fans, while minimizing the risk of burn out.

I think a full week of public testing every quarter, with smaller focus tests as needed in between, would probably be a model worth considering.

Want to know more about GW2 and why there is so much buzz? Start here: Guild Wars 2 Mass Info for the Uninitiated


Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/31/12
Posts: 666

7/13/13 2:37:23 AM#71

You can't innovate without taking a risk.  That's the whole point of innovation, high risk high reward. There is such a thing as calculated risks but it's still risk.


IMHO the MMO game industry is saturated with companies trying to come up with gimmicks disguised as an innovation when it's just a contrived attempt at not being a clone of another game. If it ain't broke don't try to fix it.


TERA was action combat. Guild Wars 2 was dynamic events, The Secret World was the 500 Skill Wheel.


I honestly wish a company would just use a tried and tested engine, and take all the strong features from all the above and more and make a complete game play experience.  Once that is done, wrap it in an engaging narrative that people care about. Then you can add your custom garnish to functionality.



Advanced Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 3922

7/13/13 3:12:38 AM#72

IMO, I don't think a games success is relied upon it's beta testings..   The only thing I can see positive coming out of early beta is "do we spend more money on this terrible game, or start over"..  I have never heard of a game start over after 3 years, and turn around and be successful..

What has swayed me into supporting a game or not is based on the games core.. All the expensive bells and whistles mean little to me, and I don't beta would help in that regard..  Take a look at SWTOR, they could of done early beta and it wouldn't have helped, IMO.. MMO development does need to change, but there are far more important changes that need to happen first before what type of beta testing do we want.. 

  User Deleted
7/13/13 8:33:35 AM#73

Closed beta of 6 months and then a few months down time to make required changes and then release thats my opinion

and about the development time.... MONSTERS AND HOSTILE CREATURES DO NOT NEED EYE LASHES just get rid of all the useless details that the player cant see or doesnt have time to see while they are in combat. if they have time to admire some ridicilous details on monsters while they are fighting there is something wrong with the whole combat system

and those creatures that can be admired they would have some details to show off its all about shifting the focus to things that are actually important

how many of you are admiring the details on monsters while playing god of war? i know im not they are just goon number 1 and goon number 2 to me i dont care about their names or eye lashes


Novice Member

Joined: 7/13/11
Posts: 1156

7/13/13 8:41:07 AM#74

Nothing short of market collapse resulting in huge shrinking of both playerbase and amount of titles can save MMORPGs in long term.


Take note - I am talking about strictly MMORPGs, not about MMOFPS, MMOTPS, MMORTS, other non-RPG MMOs and about "shared" co-op games or other trash.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/25/04
Posts: 456

As famous as the unknown soldier

7/13/13 8:51:23 AM#75
Originally posted by thegreatestagain
I do NOT want gamers to have a voice in game development, educated, trained, experienced, intelligent professionals Only


Why not? I, and a huge group of people are intelligent, successful professionals who game, and have for over 25 years. Does that make me experienced? I think so. I can only speak for myself, but I truly believe what has really happened is that devs have forgotten that a beta is for those that want to improve games, and treat it like a job. With rewards, not a mass influx of people who don't care, with devs that don't implement changes based on feedback. I've beta tested 12 games over the years, starting with UO. I was in crowd when Rains assassinated Lord British. and from what I've seen, the dedication of the beta testers, and the devs willing to listen to them has taken a huge hit over the years. I am lucky to be able to say I was part of prettymuch every successful mmorpg's beta test to date, and the difference between the betas that were successful to those that weren't was the devs and testers taking that phase of development seriously, and using that feedback, to refine their game . And Omg wall of text, sorry, mobile site hates paragraph breaks it seems :(

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...


Advanced Member

Joined: 2/17/09
Posts: 110

7/13/13 9:25:47 AM#76

I don't agree with the author's "solution". I agree that things need to change, but getting the players involved earlier in the process won't reduce production costs. And how many of those players will spend a year or more beta testing and then play the game for a long time? They may already be bored of it by the time it goes live.


What game companies need to do is go modular. Don't try to reinvent the entire wheel. Pick one aspect of an MMO and create it in a way that sets it apart from the competition. Want dungeon crawling? Make a game that is just a big dungeon. Give the players cool abilities and give the dungeon intelligent mobs. Mob AI is so much less than it could be. Create 1 big dungeon with mobs that are both proactive and reactive. Mobs that react in intelligent ways based on the group and what the group does. Dynamic fights instead of scripted fights.


Want PvP? Then create a PvP system (arena, battleground, open world, whatever) that focuses just on that and make it as good as it can possibly be. Forget PvE. Forget quests. 


By going modular, companies will be able to bring a game live much quicker and at much less cost. The players who enjoy that particular aspect of MMOs will get a game that is more innovative and focused on what they want. That will result in a more stable player base and a more profitable bottom line. The companies can then add other aspects to the game in a similar fashion, or remain within their niche and keep adding to that core module.


The author is correct that there's just too much expected in an MMO today. Game companies try to cater to every type of player and the result is a bland experience that ultimately satisfies no one. Do one thing and do it really well. Get it live and get the money coming in, then work on adding other MMO elements to the game.


Another idea would be to come up with a really good character system. Make it a game unto itself with housing and stuff. Then create a bunch of smaller, modular type games for those characters. So players would be able to create a character and then play as that character in multiple games. Characters could have lives and possessions that exist outside of the games in which they play. Abandoning a game would no longer mean abandoning the character that the player invested so much time into.


MMO companies need to start thinking on a smaller scale. Only then will innovation increase and cost decrease.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/10
Posts: 218

7/13/13 10:32:17 AM#77

What boggles my mind about MMO's is why they keep doing the same things over and over. As hinted about in the overall story above this genre is very stagnant. The companies rely on one gimmick without thinking through the rest of the game. Personally I think the companies do not think from the perspective of the people consuming their content.


1. GW2-okay great game. It just has a shallowness to it. That's really stemming from the character you create. While they are aesthetically pleasing its the core of your character that feels so lifeless. This I think is mostly to do with skills you have they don't seem like they do much. Don't have much weight behind them. After playing that game I can see why you would need a trinity. Everyone can't do everything, hence why you need people.


2. Rift-Love this game, reminds me of vanguard and FFXI and a bit of Ever quest. To general in terms of how it presents itself so it will always be compared to World of Warcraft. They will remain second to that game. That's fine by me however one hang up I have with Rift is the buggy wonkiness of it. Vanguard had the same problem although Rift is way less buggier.


3. World of Warcraft-Its the "It MMO" that everyone either loves or loves to hate. It is its own worst enemy. Its a place where a lot of gamers got their feet wet in the MMO space. Content wise World of Warcraft has it in spades. However the content I think is used incorrectly as in most MMOs. GW2 and Rift have an idea with the mentor down system. However...I think zones without level limitations would be better, or zones with different levels to the zones.

4. Challenge/Reward: Let no one here fool you, games all games are about challenge and reward. Just enough to keep you going and dangle that carrot on the stick. GW2 messed up with the aesthetic endgame my opinion they did not have enough skins to strive for. A player must have a reason to continue on...its like this in every thing we do. Life, hunting, work, play...relationships, everything. Taking the carrot away and saying do it just because is not enough in the long term game. Perhaps hide the carrot in the nuances of the overall saying of doing it just because.

5. Strutting: come on...people love to strut, i.e. changing the color of their outfits, to match the persona they are going for in an MMO. That must be something that is not only available via character creation, but with clothing skins and colors, housing, mounts, armor. this alone can be a meta game. Just imagine if you could attach things to your mounts.

6. Openness of content: Neverwinters only real quality in my opinion is the foundry. The idea of players creating content is a god send. Now in some way  you must also have great rewards for that character. Perhaps housing items, or some monetary compensation. Their must be conflict in the game as well. I for one can't stand pvp unless its consented. I've never seen a game with FFA pvp where I wasnt just ganked constantly. Its just what people do. so if you are going to have that you need balance to that...perhaps a police force formed of characters that have jobs of actually going out to catch the character. Now for instance when you normally log off you are gone, but in this game your character stays on so perhaps you will find yourself in jail the next time you log on.


I'm sure there are other things and it would be nice to have a constructive discussion.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/10
Posts: 218

7/13/13 10:37:59 AM#78
Originally posted by Loke666

Betas today seems like a pre-order bonus and when you do it like that people are indeed expecting a close to finished product since they are paying for it.

Longer beta time and actually inviting players from earlier games your company have made should indeed increase the effect of the beta and allowing you to test new ideas. Experienced players who are fans of your previous games are more likely to put effort into testing your future product than random people.

But beta needs to go back to actually being real beta tests and not a way to hype the game. MMOs really needs to try out new ideas, particularly with combat. 

Good article.


I 100% agree. Not sure when it happened but betas are becoming a way for companies to make money on the side. Also the kickstarter programs are kind of like the same way though I understand that one to a point. I can see why people start to think that the game is in the finished state. I just did two such betas, marvel heroes and neverwinter....I quickly regretted it. Now I have put money on Grimdawn and will on Hex as well but I think that's it for me in terms of paying to beta test something. Never winter is a very bad game with good concepts here and there, but I noticed something. History repeats do not really change all that much over time in terms of changing things that def need to be changed. Never winter will be the same a year from now, so on and so forth. Though I do like the foundry system.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/09/12
Posts: 567

7/13/13 11:52:12 AM#79
We get this same article from a different person every month. This guy is a dev for Firefall for Pete's sake!

Free to play = content updates for the cash shop. Buy to play = content updates for the cash shop.
Subscription = Actual content updates!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/13/13
Posts: 1

7/13/13 12:15:10 PM#80

Things have to change, but this developer still seems to be out in space.

You can't streamline a process, automate for customer support, and have a successful game. You are streamlining boredom.

You can't layout a game in level ranges, and streamline your graphics production, one set this, one set that, one set for this.... You are laying out boredom.

Developers have all the answers at their fingertips, they don't have the management answers, its that simple.

Lets look at action..

The second you take a mob, make a game that fights that mob, then you take another mob, and you fight that mob the same exact way, but think its fun because its a spider and not a wolf.. you created repetitious boredom. You created boredom from streamlining your attack..

MMO Gaming was never about the attack (of course you listened to the public mainstream, who as any business manager should know, he doesn't know what he wants, he just wants more) Anyhow it was about the HOW TO ATTACK. In the old games, we needed knowledge and lore to combat. We needed fire to fight this particular enemy, and we needed lighthing to fight that one..That's what created the llore... btw, w/e happened to lore and beastiaries? Oh they got streamlined into boring useless crap. Back to fighting, it was not about particle effects and special animations while fighting, which you have wasted ton of money on that do nothing to add fun.

The problems are completely development and management and business related.. All you people in game industry, you are not players, so you can never make a good game. No matter how much artistic effort or money you throw at it... Until you hire a player, you are wasting your time. And any mainstream MMO fans are mostly gamers, not players...

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