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All Posts by Nipashnaka

All Posts by Nipashnaka

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164 posts found
Originally posted by BillMurphy
Originally posted by Nipashnaka

You know, now I'm actually kind of curious what games / game  studios the author of "Developer Perspectives" has worked on / for.

Thar ye be!


Originally posted by Kyleran

Yes, I'm a project manager, (Program manager actually) ...

What division at Microsoft are you in?

You know, now I'm actually kind of curious what games / game  studios the author of "Developer Perspectives" has worked on / for.

Originally posted by Thillian
Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

Or maybe less people are using Xfire? I don't. I've always thought Xfire is the worst way of tracking MMO populations because not everyone uses it. It's irrelevant.

Noone uses it? It says 20.000.000 accounts registered and currently there're 130.000 players online. That IS A GARGANTUAL SAMPLE SIZE, in terms of statistics. This is far more accurate than any "election estimates, which are made on 1.000 sample size". Xfire operates at maybe 0.02% deviation,  it is as accurate as mathematics can be. There might be a discussion about what sort of players tend to use x-fire more often than others, but for what it is, it is extremely accurate.


Difference is that for election estimates they use what's known as a representative sample. And they go to great pains to achieve that. Xfire is a self-selecting sample, so it's not even a random sample and it's certainly not a representative sample either.

All Xfire trends tell you is trends amongst Xfire users. Which may or may not be useful.

Originally posted by Lexin

Cash Shop in a sub game no thank you.

Doesn't this entirely depend on price of the sub, prices in the shop, and value of the product? Just Sayin'

I can imagine a hypothetical MMO where I would pay a sub and then occassionally buy things in the shop. As a complete tangent, I don't think this game exists. And probably won't for at least 10 years or until the MMO market completely crashes and then the industry recovers into something that's more about the "game" rather than the "business of making games."

I guess the problem is that in the current enviornment I think cash shop + sub carries a lot of risk -- exploiting the customer; lazy design, or worse - business-driven design; pyschological manipulation. We live in an industry where if you do it "right" you come up with the business model before you come up with the game. The first question that gets asked is "okay... how do we monetize this?" Not like... "what would be an awesome game we could make, that customers would pay for because they see value because there is no other game out there which delivers this experience"  Of course when you make any product you want to know how you are going to sell it, and deliver it. That's a huge part of a business.

But I feel when you are making entertainment, the most important thing is making something entertaining. Not making something that hits all the right bullets that your market-analyists and executives have identified as the features to maximize revenue, because "Well if we don't have X feature in our game, how can we ever expect to hit Y users and make Z profit?!." At anything above the indie / small company level, this is how games often get designed.



Originally posted by fallenlords
Originally posted by MMO.Maverick
Originally posted by fallenlords

  All to my mind



It's obvious that you have a way of looking at stuff with your own viewpoint and use of terminology that isn't conform  the general usage of those terms and general opinion. Also it's quite clear that you have a thing against Funcom and as a result against AoC and TSW, hence that you keep repeating your 'terminology' over and over and over again.

I think you've explained your viewpoint in 10+ posts now, while to most it was already clear after the third time. People won't convince you of the incorrectness - or your 'highly individualised interpretation' - of broadly used MMO terms, and neither will you convince people that how MMO terms have been used by the industry and MMO player base in general is wrong. The only thing that you might convince people of is that you have a strong dislike of Funcom, their game design and their games

But go ahead, parrot your same opinion for an 11th, or 12th and 13th post, like a broken record, as if the former 10 weren't clear.


I think that it's convenient for people to hide behind terminology. Just because something is a popular belief doesn't make it true.   You will be telling me next the sky in Ancient Greece was blue, that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, frogs make a ribbit noise and a centipede has a 100 legs.  All of which I use as commonly held beliefs that are just wrong.  AOC is not an MMO the world is instanced to the hilt, though AOC is an RPG.  Just because terms are being used incorrectly doesn't mean I should just accept them. Though I do appreciate how annoying I can be,  but then people tend for the most to focus on the terminology.  Rather than argue AOC is an MMO because, we have the industry calls it an MMO so it's an MMO sort of approach.  All hail to the industry, not like they would ever lead any of us astray. I mean it's not like they are actually trying to sell us something in most instances.


I think this is a really interesting point. One could take it a step further though. *Is* AoC really an RPG? Well, what is an RPG? If I took Counterstrike and slapped persistent characters and levels on top, is it now an RPG? If I took that and made a persistent chat lobby where millions of players could chat with each other, would it be an MMORPG? What if the lobby was graphical, like a major city such as New York where you could run around and show off the gold desert eagles you purchased from the item shop? How is this functionally different than the MMO model of hubs/dungeon finder/instanced gameplay?

Two schools of thought here. First is that words mean things, and language doesn't evolve - rather words are misued. Second is that perception is reality, and words mean whatever a consensus say they mean.

Personally, I'm not convinced that MMORPGs are really MMORPGs anymore. In that sense that we're living in the age of genre cross-bleed... shooters have RPG elements, RPGs have online elements, Online Games have arenas and semi-persistent areas. How can one possibly draw lines? I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. On the positive side, it means a lot more options for gamers... 10 years ago the conventional wisdom might have been "This is a game of X genre, that's what gamers expect! You can't add elements of Y genre! It's too confusing!" On the negative side, it makes marketing more difficult. I'm not a marketing guy, but in my humble opinion effective marketing campaigns tend to be short and sweet, and drive home a unified message of the product. Gamers want to know what they are purchasing, but nobody wants to parse "World of Awesomeness is a massively multiplayer instance-based tab-target non-traditional-level based game with role-driven-grouping and shooter elements for 3d vehicle combat set in the fanstical world of SpellJammer" (or whatever). Instead you just say "Blow away your opponents with our innovative skyship combat system!"



Originally posted by raistlinm
Originally posted by Nipashnaka

Voice-over is awesome, but there are a couple of negative consequences:

  1. Greatly increases the cost of development (in terms of time/resources). This means given a fixed budget, having VO means not having something other feature.
  2. Lowers quality in other areas - once you record a VO, you are kind of locked to it. This means if you record a VO to kill ten rats, and later the developers say "this quest kinda sucks, lets completely change it" they can't. Because changing the quest also means re-recording the VO, and this gets expensive. Especially because most MMOs launch in at least 4 languages. So it lowers the total number of iterations allowed in the budget. Iterating on a feature is how you improve it.
  3. Increases linearity, because with any sort of branching quest or story the cost rises exponentially.
So the thing is, if VO does become a standard feature that gamers demand to the point where producers in the MMO industry consider it a must-have feature, then MMOs in general will cost more money (which means we'll get less of them coming to market) and will have have less gameplay features than they to today.


All very good points but let's take a look more specifically at option number three as it stands now quests are extremely static they never change at all anyway so how would that become a negative effect.  If BW chooses to offer branching paths it would still be exclusive to them everyone else has that one particular quest that you either take or you don't whether you do it or not has no bearing on the outcome of your gaming experience so I can't look upon this is really a negative

You're absolutely right - quests are static in MMOs. But I guess over the last 10 years I was hoping they would move in a more dynamic direction. If VO was a standard MMO feature (the kind that publishers don't let you launch without), this hope would die.

In terms of cost, text and quest implementation in the "standard RPG model" (quests being delivered via text) is relatively cheap in development terms. This is why RPGs even from developers of modest means can boast hundreds (or even thousands) of quests. It's cheap content.

If you want to make some sort of convoluted branching quest structure with outcomes that impact future quests and Player-NPC interaction in subtle ways, basically you have a lot of cases and then some human has to figure out "okay, if the Player had outcome A on quest X, and outcome Q on quest Y... on quest Z we hide dialog option R and replace it with dialog option S."

Planning is a bitch, but in terms of word count and logic it's not that bad. So we're looking at four tasks - a task for the guy who maps out the quest structure, a task for the guy implementing the dialog logic, and a task for the guy writing the dialog, and a task for the translator. But VO adds a huge price tag the pipeline, in addition to the overhead of just having VO. You need to hire actors, rent a sound studio, do recording sessions, etc, etc. If something changes or needs to be redone, gotta go re-hire the same actor for that NPC. Plus the actors for all the other languages you release in. This has an effect where to reduce risk, quests with VO end up being fairly simple/standard. There's no "well, we'll try out this experimental quest mechanic and if it doesnt work we'll change it in beta."

But I think as gamers, we want content mechanics that push the envelope.

Voice-over is awesome, but there are a couple of negative consequences:

  1. Greatly increases the cost of development (in terms of time/resources). This means given a fixed budget, having VO means not having something other feature.
  2. Lowers quality in other areas - once you record a VO, you are kind of locked to it. This means if you record a VO to kill ten rats, and later the developers say "this quest kinda sucks, lets completely change it" they can't. Because changing the quest also means re-recording the VO, and this gets expensive. Especially because most MMOs launch in at least 4 languages. So it lowers the total number of iterations allowed in the budget. Iterating on a feature is how you improve it.
  3. Increases linearity, because with any sort of branching quest or story the cost rises exponentially.
So the thing is, if VO does become a standard feature that gamers demand to the point where producers in the MMO industry consider it a must-have feature, then MMOs in general will cost more money (which means we'll get less of them coming to market) and will have have less gameplay features than they to today.


Really? Really? Is this what we've come to as an industry?


On edit: maybe that was a bit harsh, but it was my first reaction to checking out the website.

Originally posted by Raventree

To me, a complete MMO would include the things that WoW offers, but also have RVR and a reason to PVP on top of endless raiding and dungeon grinding.  Take away arena and add in RVR like back in DAoC with it's own rewards and progression system such as realm ranks and you are far on your way toward having a winner.

You've hit on a topic I've posted about a lot :p

Do you have any idea of what an MMO that included all WoW features + all PvP features from your pvp game of choice would cost? And good graphics? We're talking like... 200 million development costs, easy. And a studio that knows how to manage a 200 million dollar project. That's a lot of money to bet on something that is "far on its way toward being a winner"

Just sayin'

I bet Chris is getting totally teased at work right now.

"Hey Chris, you know that place you recommended for lunch? You don't work there do you?"

That's probably the most that will come of it.

Originally posted by UnsungToo

 Nah, it's not just about the players. The players didn't ask for everything to be broken down where you have to buy every feature seperately.

And games don't need to cost as much as they say they do. They some slippery stuff going on there. I worked it out once and to have a game made at most it should cost is a million or two, and that includes pay rates, software ,equiptment and a few full page ads and internet viral marketing.

At the top, they are eating each other with patent laws, making almost everyone build their own engine just for protection and I think that's where alot of money goes, that and some I think is reported for tax things.

Once you got the tools and resources it doesn't take 4-5 years to put a game together, especially with 49+ people.

With the proper tools, anybody can build a game in a couple of months, and a pretty good one too.

I don't mean to sound offensive... but... what? It does not cost "a million or two" to make a AAA MMO. How do you arrive at this figure? How is it possible to make a AAA MMO in a "couple of months"?

Originally posted by UnsungToo

Playin' different games different ways sure will take ya out of your comfort zone, won't it?

I think the root of all evil in gaming is publisher/developer/industry greed. Games are built around the business plan. And not about making a good fun game.

And for that reason I feel I have to hurry and get as much out of the game before it costs more. So, really, they make us feel that way. And it's no secret that it's planned out like that.

You know why MMOs are built around a business plan? Because they have a 50 million dollar price tag. That kind of money makes or breaks a studio... an MMO flop means the company is dead and everybody loses their jobs. So yes, MMOs obviously and rationally are built around a business model.

You know why modern MMOs cost 50 million dollars to make (while UO problably clocked in at a couple million tops). Because players demand 50 times the features in their MMO as they did in 1997.

Players are the root of all evil in modern MMOs.

If players said (and meant): "Give me an open world, level-less, class-less hardcore PvP game with full loot drop. I care about four things: Balance, server stability, building a castle, and raiding some other guy's castle" someone would make it.

Problem is players are spoiled... they want their "cool features" but it's just assumed they'll get hundreds of hours of quests, scripted content, epic looking zones, voice acting, cut-scenes, and all the bells and whistles. But these things aren't free. These things are the 50 million dollars.

The problem is that most of an MMO budget goes to what players consider "basic stuff" because WoW did it. This leaves very little room in the budget to make the innovative features. I think players have this idea that developers go into work and they do what they want, and then a game comes out and it flops, and developers shrug and go back to work. No, when a game flops you're out of work. In fact, 50 million is such a large sum of money that you better believe that average "Joe Designer" who is sitting there cranking out swords for the noob zone doesn't have a say in any of the real decisions. In order to even get 50 million dollars you have to have a pretty detailed proposal and a pretty slick pitch to marketing savvy investors who quite frankly aren't particularly thrilled to part with their money for a 5 year development cycle.

If you had 50 million dollars and invested it in an MMO, how big a risk would you take? Would you be out there making Rift, or out there making Darkfall 2?

On the other hand, if we're talking about an MMO with a 2-3 million dollar budget or less, any mid-size company should be able to eat that if the game is a flop. Wouldn't be fun, but the entire company wouldn't be out of work. So studios can be more experimental. If players want something different, it's much more likely to get done in a smaller MMO where the entire future of the studio doesn't hinge on the outcome of the project. But then players have to give up 100s of hours of quest content, scripted dungeons, voice overs, cut scenes, and DX10 grass. Is that a fair trade? I think so, but apparently most MMO gamers don't.

Originally posted by WSIMike
Originally posted by Emhster
Originally posted by SaintViktor

 Exactly but some will bring up the fact that Blizzard has yet to release in China which is true but their model is way different than ours and because Blizzard's definition of subscribers it allows them (well atleastt hey think it does) to include them as subscribers. WoW is not falling apart yet but between TOR, GW2 and Blizzard's new mmo it is all but done. It had it's days in the sun and I'm sure it will have a few more good moments but it just is time for something new.

I wish they had the same subscription models here. Having to pick which game you want to play this month is crazyness . (and it favors WoW big time in the West)

Interesting point you make there. Once upon a time, people found a "home" in a MMO they liked and stayed there for years. The concept of "which MMO will I play this month" is pretty crazy to me, given the types of games MMOs were conceived to be. They were intended to be long-term hobbies.

Interesting point YOU make there.

I don't know what happened to the MMO genre. It's almost as if MMO players (actual MMO players) were deemed to be a niche audience, but it was also recognized that there is a lot of money in "social hubs with attached mini-games which are vaguely connected to the game world." So now all MMOs stopped being MMOs, and started being bad single player RPGs with a co-op mode that players pay $15 a month for. It's a win-win for the industry!

Originally posted by Snaylor47

I am curious, people throw this term around so often that the term seems to mean anything remotly EQ1&2/WoW like.

A game where it's clear that WoW's existence had a heavy impact on development, and when developers asked themselves "what should we do for X feature" the default answer was "make it like WoW."

Originally posted by Nesrie
Originally posted by anointedswor

I will be blunt here. *Smile* If you whinners are so talented, why not make your own gaming company and start making games. With that said, have a nice day. :)

 Better empty out your house, because unless you can create everything in it by yourself, your philosophy says you shouldn' thave an opinion on anything you don't make.

When you go to buy a car do you say to the car salesman:

"Geez, those guys at Honda don't know wtf they are doing. Why can't they make a hybrid hovercar that's cheaper than a gasoline car with wheels? It's easy for anyone that knows how to build cars. Why do they take the easy way out and give us cars with 4 wheels as they've been doing since 1900. It's just lazy car design, and worthless car designers who shouldn't be making cars in the first place."

Cuz, I read the MMO equivalent here all the time.

Originally posted by Loke666
Originally posted by nerovipus32

of course blizzard are not going to come out and say "oh well we think our new mmo will kill wow", they are going to say they can co-exist so that they can hold onto as many wow subscribers as possible until they release their next mmo. giving people an impression that their full attention is not on wow would make people wonder about the future of their subscriptions. you can clearly see wow's quality slipping in the last 6 months or so, the original wow staff are no longer developing content for wow.

Releasing a new Wow would just be stupid. They already have the customers, they could just merge the game with a new engine for less money instead.

No they are aiming for new players this time, competing with yourself is stupid and Blizzard are many things but they are not stupid and really know how to get new players.

I have a lot of predictions about this game. We'll see if they come true. Although, from what I've heard through the grapevine, they aren't.

Originally posted by Dalano

Simutronics, the original developer of the Hero Engine, was building a dynamic fantasy game called Hero's Journey (as someone mentioned). If this German company also aquired the rights to Hero's Journey when they bought the engine, then I could see them having a product ready in a year or so.

As a longtime fan of Simutronic's text games, I've always lamented the fact that Hero's Journey amounted to vapor. Would be interesting to see a Mythic founder (who also started with text games) bring it to completion. 

MMO middleware quite frankly isn't "there" yet in terms of what you need to make an MMO. It is, however, is very good at making the specific demo they use to sell their middleware.

Although since they own the engine, I suspect they've just gutted most of it to fit their specific game. Something interesting could come out of this. Probably this is a rare case where the game developers have a "free hand" to make the game they want. The parent company said "we have an engine, we need to prove we can actually make a game with it" and hired experienced people and said "make us a game." This is the ideal situation for any developer. As opposed to "make us a game with jedi/gandalf/captain picard/superman, that has a tie in with this movie, oh and the IP holder calls most of the shots."

On the other hand, lots a LOT of egos on one project.

Originally posted by Edward_K
Originally posted by Nipashnaka
Originally posted by Edward_K

Part of being a professional developer involves being able to determine the difference between constructive criticism and pointless flaming. If the Devs of any game cant tell the difference between the two, then they shouldnt be Devs in the first place.

Part of being a poster on a game forum involves being able to determine whether a post you make is either constructive cricitism, or pointless flaming. If the players of any game can't tell the difference between the two, then they shouldn't be posting on game forums in the first place.


Devs = professional employees. Forum posters = a variety of people, from a variety of different ages, with a variety of different mental states. Despite what nonsense some people may post on the forums, the Devs should be professional enough to be able to distinguish between what is useful feedback and what isnt.


My point is that even a poster who posts the most flamiest flame, probably thinks he's giving constructive critcisim. In fact 99% of forum feedback is probably not constructive. To be constructive, it needs to be actionable, and to be actionable you need to know the technology and the processes involved in adding features to that particular game. I would also point out that forum users represent a tiny minority of a minority of players.

Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

It's the CEO's and the Marketing Directors and the Business Analysts and the MBA's and the investors that are giving the marching order to make uncreative games. That's the dirty secret no one wants to tell..... Most of the people making top level decisions about game development know nothing about game development....and often even about game playing. They know about marketing, finance, self-promotion and corporate politics. Those are all important skills in thier own right but they really have nothing to do with designing good games.

This isn't too far off in many studios. But actually, these things you list above have a lot to do with making a good game... because a good MMO costs tens of millions of dollars. The guys that are able to secure funding are the ones that have to answer to the investors, so yeah they want to be involved. When you try to sell an idea to investors (or shop it to a publisher), if "having wizards" means you can get $40 million instead of $10 million, then yea you are going to have wizards.

I actually agree with your point, but it is the way is. I guess someone on these forums needs to win the lottery. And (since that person likely isn't a professional game developer), hand over the money to a studio to make their perfect game and then back off. Wait, what? No, why should they back off? Of course they'll be involved! It's their money after all, so they'll tell the studio of professional game developers they hire exactly how to make the game, and how it all should work! Well, there ya go.

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