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All Posts by Aerig

All Posts by Aerig

1 Page 1
13 posts found

A lot of the real issue with MMO today is nothing to do with sandbox. They are just not MMO anymore.

Because companies keep trying to cater to the perception that the gaming industry is populated by "want it now" child mentalities, the majority of games no longer have any real MMO content regardless of their theme.

There really is no MMO as such now. The genre has regressed to the C-MUD level of solo play, IE with many players all playing solo, and the social element of team play is so deprecated that people new to MMO's generally perceive them to be inferior to standalone games with better graphics and more in depth content.

MMO always was and still is about playing with other people and the excitement of cooperative teamwork. It's easy to simulate that with PvP but so many people get bored playing the same football match that the industry is killing itself with the cheap PvP solution.

Many MMO gamers are really Pioneer spirited and want to conquer the environment with other People (not just their pet or other game supplied robots). When you don't give them that level of challenge, they just drift back to your standalone, solo play game.

 

ESO is a classic, current example. Morrowind was a better game. It has dated graphics but better in your face atmosphere. And, many current MMO's are just as bad. What point in playing an MMO that is just a sad facsimile of a better game? MMO has to have something extra, not much less.

 

There is the kids' level MMO which is basically a global chat zone with brainless idiots talking crap. There is the early adult level which encourages more interactive play. There is the mature adult level that emphasises teamwork and cooperation.

Each of those is viable. Unfortunately, most games today try to cater to all three and cannot.

 

The only games, recently, that have tried to break that mold were AoC and TSW. With adult levels of content and immersion they could have worked, had they not both watered don their content level in one way or another. When they diluted their adult population with appeal to the younger market, they lost their niche.

I think MMO's now, to be successful in a game crowded market, have to specialise and begin with a smaller game environment to start with and, as the OP points out, should focus more on good game mechanics than on huge amounts of content.

I think that we, the gaming population of whatever age, are bored with no need for cooperation, cheap quest lines and easy victories, and that it is high time that FunCom, NC or some other hold the line company made us a game intended for intelligent players.

Originally posted by fivoroth

Is there a way to download the game without using that "thing" called Pando Media Booster?

PMB, last I knew, actually does help download the game much faster.

However, I learned to my cost (literal finances here), that it is badly configured and will continue to share Lotro files from your machine until it is uninstalled.

I pay per the gigabyte of bandwidth so that cost me £126 british pounds before I realised that it was still happily using my bandwidth two months after the game had downloaded.

The solution is to uninstall Pando Media Booster immediately after you have LOTRO downloaded and running.

 

LOTRO the game is actually pretty fun (I have been playing MMORPG for over ten years now), but like so many MMO's today, its now aimed to suit the brainless kids that just want to play alone without ever learning to play with other people.

Nevertheless, in my experience, the player population is largely composed of adults and more intelligent younger people. People who are able to communicate.

 

I'd say, give the game a try. Its not hugely better than other games anymore but its also not hugely less than other games. Its still in the running.

LOTRO is a game that has always seemed to encourage civilised communication between real people. Thats still the case.

 

So far the reviews I have read are basically non-commital and as per "its nice, its has flaws,but is it fair to judge at this stage?".

BioWare though have a ground rep for writing nicely immersive games, so I'd be pretty keen to make this my fifth major mmo beta test.

I do agree with an earlier comment that noted how few beta testers actually provided feedback, though its not unfair to say that mere presence and activity in a beta tends to help devs deal with baseline issues like server load tweaking and lag issues.

But, if someone from BioWare reads this ...

Give the testers an semi-automated bug report system that automatically registers area, location, current target, relevant aspects of character status, ping, local and general server population at the time etc

Put an easy to use interface on that with a streamlined categorisation selector emphasing or restricting reports to your current development criteria and a limited space for textual description.

Have the devs rate each submission they read so that you are reading the content from reliable testers first.

Make that bug report panel prominently accessible and have its data constantly populated with last known good state so that testers can hit auto submit the minute they think they have a problem (cooldown on that function) or, at least, the minute the client thinks it has a problem.

Only two games I have tested have had anything so intelligent AoC and EQ which still uses this same basic mechanism after I suggested it 3 months prior to the LoY expansion.

 

One of the main problems with submitting data during a beta test is that you do actually get caught up in the game and you dont want to tab out to the forums. So you can have 10 useful and relevant thoughts that get lost in the heat of the action.

"Dammit, if I die now its going to take me an hour to work my way back to this point"

so I would say that at least half of the salient contributions I could have made in games have been lost because I wanted to continue the experience in the hope of finding something more useful than that annoying niggle which, at the end of the day, can be the annoying niggle that prevents players from playing at release.

So bug report = temporary character invulnerability, freeze client, log relevant ingame and client state variables and player comment, unfreeze game on submission = exploitable but its a beta test and the info is more valuable than the idiot that wants to avoid a pvp kill or whatever

And if all that raddish fails to goad you into retarding yourself to the level of an attention seeking 9 year old, you can always overdose yourself on green cheese!

I played this in closed beta and in many ways it is a genuinely good game. Recently I played the trial and noticed quite a few small but positive changes as far as Tortage (the starter area) goes. The trial does not let you passed that point.

In the trial there was a noticeable lack of population which, to me, said that the main world would either be dead or high end characters only. That completely put me off paying for a month just to see if the main game world had improved.

Back during the closed beta I strongly felt and stated that AoC was, for me at least, simply not an MMO since there was zero incentive to group. Apart from there being really no great need to group, the chat interface in the game at that point of time was horrendously crude and almost obstructive to enjoying the game.

The actual game world, though, is really attractive. The graphics were good if not excellent, though maybe a little stylised in a way that some people may not find visually appealing. The gameplay, ie combat mechanics etc, was actually more or less what they had aimed for, dynamic and exciting.

Returning during the trial, I did get a chance to group with one of the few players I met and that was, to my surprise, a very fun experience with the atmosphere of fast paced action, bloody mayhem and immersive involvement in what was going on being very high compared to many, and maybe all, other games I have played. Its more like watching live film action with dynamically moving characters than the more static, carton like movements of player characters in other games.

In spite of being fun, engrossing and highly immersive, the specifically solo part of Tortage (Night Time) probably starts players off in a way that predisposes us far to much to perceive the game from the outset as more of a solo thing than a group thing and, noting the last paragraph, that is actually highly destructive to what would otherwise be a a wonderful grouping environment. IE, players spend so much time soloing in the starter area that by the time they get to the main continents they dont have any inherent motivation to group.

When AoC goes freemium then you can bet that I will be going back for at least long enough to see if the post-Tortage world has improved as far as incentive to group goes because this game really rocks when it comes to group oriented action.

I think this is a wise and constructive move on Funcom's part since all that ever really detracted from AoC were things that they appear to have fixed and the non-existent player base. Fully populated this game should be at least as exciting to play as any other game out there at the moment.

To other players out there considering spending time on AoC, I'd say, give it a shot, its a good game in all the areas you want it to be good in, but make a specific point of grouping with others because its the most exciting aspect of the game.

I am pretty wordy so if you are illiterate please dont scream WoT! :P

I played EQ and EQ 2 and, imo, they were and are both world beating games. The release of EQ 2 was more or less the death of at least the EU servers and the release of the EQ 2 PvP servers was more or less the death of the PvE servers. You have to credit SOE with consistently annoying its player base by disrupting a great status quo.

But, in fairness EQ 2 was and is an excellent game to play. It is fast paced and the instanced action is incredibly exciting. The classes are very well balanced and designed. For me, good game design and ingame mechanics will win out at the end of the day over all eye candy and, in this area, I think EQ 2 is unrivaled.

Before the wowboys yell WoW! No, WoW is not better though I give its due for being a good game in its own right. WoW lacks the nice fast pace of EQ 2, the elegance of the class design and mechanics and quite a large amount derived from the extended heritage that EQ 2 derives from EQ which, contrary to the popular belief that WoW was the first big mmo, was actually the first big mmo.

Back to EQ 2, my main concern at the moment is that, as a paying EQ 2X subscriber, the server stability has been truly atrocious for the last 5 days. So bad, in fact, that, if it continues to be so poor, my subscription will not last past the end of the current month.

On the other hand, for about an equal period of time prior to that (I am only recently returned to EQ 2 having been disgusted at Turbine's grossly deceitful misuse of PMB in allowing(?) it to steal player's internet bandwidth) the EQ2X server ran extremely stably and reliably.

So .. I am hoping that, in spite of the current delays in getting the servers up and running, the game wil return to its expected stable operation and the game will continue to provide the level of fun that it has been for about half of the ten days or so that I have been playing again.

As for DoV: Hrm .. EQ expansions usually had some merit. At least I enjoyed all of them up till the release of LDoN at which point, admittedly a bit jaded by the game anyaw (as one does get a bit tired of a gae after a year or so) I began to hae cooncerns that that one was going to completely destroy the game balance. I believe it probably did.

So DoV? I wont buy it at the current price. I think the price is way to much to ask for an expansion to a game that already has a monthly subscription. Bear in mind that EQ2X may be F2P but that EQ2 is not.

On top of that, DoV sounds like a high end expansion and my characters are only level 20-30 so its kinda a redundant issue for me.

 

I think a much more useful consideration is, the release of DoV bringing EQ 2 to prominence in the news, iwhether or not other comments in this thread have merit.

In EQ2X you do not need to buy SC (Sony Cash) to use your quest rewards. That, imo, sounds like playground speculation.

EQ2/X is an old game and the graphics, in all honesty, are not world beating. However, they work fine and the water rendering is still about the best I have seen.

Like I said above, the game mechanics remain excellent and EQ 2 is a wonderfully playable and fun game with and extremely rich and varied adventure setting.

I dont know what the population issues are on the EQ2 servers are but the EQ2X server is hugely populated and extremely active.

Should you play EQ2/X? The free version is playable without spending a cent/penny and is very enjoyable. If you are bored of your current game then EQ2X will probably be good fun for you - just click the big Play Free icon to join a guaranteedly busy server.

My personal opinion is that the Bronze (free) account is extremely limited and that, if you have fun with the game, then upgrading to Silver is a very good deal for the one off cost of $10.

Do we want something that is interesting enough to attract us?

or

Do we want to be given an out of game incentive to play?

 

Real world issues will always have some impact on what we play. The money a game costs can be an important factor in which we choose out of the bunch especially for adults who are practiced in constantly monitoring their expenditure and managing the budgets.

But, what this article is saying to me is much deeper than this. Games are a non-essential purchase. They are not food or clothing or something that we must have in order to live.

Thus, money is important but our personal interest level is much more important simply because we choose to play games rather than have to. So out-of-game incentives to play, whether real or artificial, are nowhere near as important as a game being good in its own right.

In the dark ages of computer gaming, games like JetSet Willy, Jet Pack, Lemmings all broke the mould cast by Pong, the ubiquitous tennis game at the start.

MUD thru EverQuest thru WoW to today's MMO have extended that sort of ground breaking expansion from simple to intriguing & complex by introducing the most dynamic factor of all .. People!

Every time games have evolved, they have not become simpler, they have become more complex. Sure, yes: better graphics, nicer sound, more helpful & easier to use clients. But the actual evolution has always been along the lines of deeper, more profound, more puzzling, more intriguing, more immersive gameplay.

We play games .. all games, in one way or another, for whatever particular aspect we personally prefer, to stimulate out minds.

The real problem with intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic (which stupid jargon I rephrased with my post title) is whether or not the game developers will recognise that ..

We have a need for games that is motivated by our desire to learn!

 

"Intrinsic versus Extrinsic?" is, at the base of it, the question of the short sighted accountant focussing only on the profit line. You have to pay attention to that profit line or your game will fail financially.

The problem is, that if you focus on money forgetting the real issue, that a game must satisfy our real desire for interesting games to play, then eventually you will lose your customer because you will lose their attention.

This is what has been happening in the MMO market for the last 5 to 10 years. Developers, admittedly forced to pay heed to the real concern of making a financially viable game, have been losing sight of our, the players', need to have variety, depth, puzzle and innovation in the games we play.

With the success of WoW, the plaguiaristic copy cat of the MMO world, game developers have seem to have lost their motivation to design and write interesting, exciting and evolving games.

The game industry has stuck to the standard formulae and is boring us to death.

 

What? You are not bored of your game yet? Well .. you will be.

Sooner or later you will want a different game to play, or a better game to play.

Sooner or later, the same game with different graphics will not be enough for you!

Its free to play or premium as you choose, premium costing me approx £7 per month (incredidibly good value) or maybe $10 to you.

http://fomportal.com/

I played from about xmas day till yesterday.

Being part of a 50+ vs 50+ man raid really is an exciting experience and I willl definitely return to this game at some point in the future.

Even now, with the mmo typical population decline with so many people back at work and school after the holidays, FoM is definitely a fun game to play, with 20+ vs 20+ spontaneous raids being a common daily occurrence.

Strong use of TeamSpeak and Vent result in a fairly close knit and boysterous community that is genuine fun to be part of.

Many people delete their characters and create new ones for anonymity but equally many keep the same name and a good deal of notoriety and fame as they either remain in one faction or migrate from one faction to another when they want a change of pace or scene.

The game is not that easy to learn and has a pretty steep learning curve but it is well worth the effort because the depth of gameplay and the player created social environment results in a seriously compelling, immersive and addictive game.

The sound and graphics are all pretty good. Possibly the actual look of the models could be better but that would probably slow down raids and skirmishes. The model animation is superb and really pulls you into the game.

In my mind, I relate to characters in FoM like I would real people. EQ, AO, Neo, ... none of them have really been so vivid to me.

 

So why did I leave?

12 hours a day engrossed playing, seriously convoluted politics, close to outright exhaustion, burned out for now!

Utterly brilliant game with a fantastic player population! I cant think of another game that I would recommend more atm for outright FPS excitement, involvement and roleplay potential.

FoM rocks!

I played this game a few years ago when you got one turn a day or something like that. Pretty sure it wasnt one turn per 10 mins.

Either way it was actually an extremely good and fun wargame.

Its a bit like Risk, iirc, but not so simplistic.

Your armies, defined as armies when they were all in the same province, were each able to excute different combat tactics simultaneously on an adjacent target region. So like you have 5 armies round a single region and can attack that in 5 different ways.

This resulted in some really intriguing combat scenarios (especially since you cant easily predict what your opponent is up to) where, for example, opposing forces all pretend to flee leaving the initial target empty but dispersing them all into skirmishes in the surounding regions.

I would absolutely recommend this game to anyone who likes wargaming.

As a longterm player of MMO I have to say that I have faced this basic problem over and over again.

For all the immersion and realism of tadays games, there always come, for me, a point when a game is no longer sufficiently engrossing to hold my attention.

That said, I have always found the problem to be more one of lowering populations, especially at the this time of year, when people return to school/work or cut out on less necessary expenditures of time/finances for a while in order to recoup from the festive season.

At the moment I am downloading LOTRO, a game I vowed never to play again :P, simply because I cba to play the game I spent 12 hours a day on over xmas - more a case of burn out than boredom. LOTRO has a nice easy pace and it doesnt matter too much if there are few people around to group with.

Thumbs up for the basic point of the article. It is always waise to retain some self aware objectivity in MMO simply because they can be so compellingly immersive that you lose perspective on how much you are starting not to enjoy them.

For me, a change of pace or scene always seems to do the trick, providing an injection of new energy and enthusiasm.

Probably the most important thing I found is to remember that it actually is the social aspect of a game that ends up being the most engrossing and to focus on developing a good framework for socialising rather than on loot, kill or xp count.

That said, lol, how often have I forgotten exactly that in the mad dash for ingame excellence :P

I cant say I read this through entirely, simply because I am not conversant with all of the games covered.

I do think its an excellent article with a very good and strong point.

From my perspective, there are too many games out there vying for our time and attention and too many of those are either outright rubbish (rubbish beyond any influence of any objective personal opinion) or are merely a flashy graphics front end pasted on top of old, outworn, poorly implemented ideas and game engines that are so simplistic as to baffle their description as MMO.

Strangely enough, one game that you would have to consider as being worth a remake would be Conquest Online. Pretty poor on the graphics front, with and extermely simple class and combat system, its nevertheless a great game for both group and solo play.

As for those you mentioned AC was a game I never really liked and maybe a spruce up of the graphics and general game mechanics would result in a decent hack and slash.

UO maybe once had some sort of glory, when people were actually there to play with, but I cant say I ever saw that, and, tbh, the hard to see graphics and eye frazzling colour contrasts put me off it almost immediately. Stick Baldur's Gate quality graphics on it and maybe it would be worth some attention.

Perhaps, in some ways, Wurm Online is the remake of UO, having a 3D environment with gorgeous graphics and complete freedom to pursue whatever skills you are interested in right up to the point where the buildings and items you construct are repsresented as part of the landscape. This game is well worth a look if you like Ultima Online.

As an original player of EQ, EQII and AO, I look back with sad nostalgia to the days when the servers were packed with eager, fun loving players in games where team work was an ultimate requirement to success. The same can be said of the revivified DDO.

All of these games, in spite of looking slightly aged with respect to their graphics are games that have eternal appeal, simply because the games themselves are incredibly well written, well balanced and have that immersive quality that any good MMO must have to be recorded in the annals of the glorious.

 

However, it is not any datedness or inadequacy of these games that would suggest a remake, or necessarily that any of them need any sort of remake, since what makes a game great is not it graphics but its playability.

What really needs a rethink, and all MMO's really have to consider this issue, is how they are marketed.

With the advent of WoW we saw a type of self destructive, predatorial marketing that encourages people, especially younger players, to focus on uberism, soloing and deemphasis of what actually gives an MMO lasting appeal to all age groups, ie the social group play aspect that causes the game to be more than just a computer program but a leisure passtime that is as fun and fascinating as any other passtime that involves interaction with other people.

Its the people that lend the dynamism, fun and excitement in the longterm. No people = no game.

The younger players grow up. They want more from a game than an online solo FPS/RPG in a huge environment. When the game has become too focussed on solo play, the players are inhibited from creating the social environment that would keep those players as they begin to want more from the game than just personal achievement .. as they begin to want the achievement of working well with others. 

Those players then leave the game they played to try to find a game that offers that missing something but, all games suffering from that migrational inclination in a market where there are almost more games than players, the market as a whole actually starts to lose players, driving them away with its own cheap marketing policies, with the end result that every game currently, good or bad, is suffering from depopulation.

The solution, perhaps, is not for the games that led the way and are still the best to be revamped, but for those games to be recognised by us for what they always were and still are .. the most playable games on the market.

In return, the companies running those games need to do two things. They must ensure that their player population is not split destructively across multiple servers.

Every game has an effective minimum population which seems to be about 75% of what the developers estimate as the maximum population which the servers at the time could handle.

All the games mentioned are old and were developed for much less powerful hardware. Were each of the companies responsible to invest in more modern servers, capable of twice the population load, and then merge the populations of the current servers so that the new more powerful servers ended up with between 75% and 125% of that initial maximum estimate, then all their servers would be sufficiently highly populated to make the game attractive to new players looking for other players to play with.

Assuming, our hope, that those games then attracted more players, their servers could then be split at around the 150-175% population mark to create new servers to handle incoming population.

Remember that all those old games were written in times when the computer at home was much less powerful, when our internet connections were much less capable. Client side lag, which was a common cause of frustration in the past, should be nearly non-existent in those games now. Similarly, there is no reason for there to be server side lag in older games, given that today's server hardware and internet connections are also to the order of seven times more capable.

Running servers that can cope with twice the initial estimated maximum population should be trivial. Thus consolidating existing populations to make games that much more attractive to new or returning players should be, more or less, simply a matter of investing in servers capable of doing so.

 

Anarchy Online, 156 Fixer <Famous Last Words>, RK1
Dungeons & Dragons Online, 13 Fighter <Knights of Shadow>, Keeper(?)
EverQuest, 56 Shaman <Miraj>, Venril Sathir
EverQuest II, 55 Assassin <Cult of the Dragon>, Splitpaw
Lord of the Rings, 50 Guardian <Thorin's Shield>, Snowbourn
World of Warcraft, 46 Hunter <The Way>, forget server
 

Originally posted by Thachsanh

Just like your own painting, you are free to make pink rainbow giant goblin but don't expect to bring them out to play in public and not get laugh at.

 

No, no! Wait! I want to see pink rainbow giant goblin! You cannot deprive me of that pleasure or I will set a battalion of Turkish horsemen mounted in Ford Escorts on you!

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