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All Posts by jakin

All Posts by jakin

7 Pages « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
123 posts found

It's the standard thing that comes up in all these threads. 

Sandbox <----> Themepark is a continuum, it's just that inevitably someone comes along and arbitrarily draws a line saying "this is where sandbox is, all the rest are themeparks".

Sandbox MMOs don't fail - as long as they're developed well.  Poorly developed sandbox MMOs fail, as do poorly developed themepark MMOs.

If the term "fail" is actually meaning "not as successful as" in this context - I'd personally pin most of that on the fact that a sandbox-esque game by definition relies more on the player to be self-motivated and capable of setting their own goals and deriving their own fun.  This is not a skill that very many people pick up these days.

It's got to be a good MMO first.  Being a fan of the series / world will only take you so far - if the game is junk then it doesn't really matter.

Can't really have the discussion if one doesn't frame the situation properly.  Is the question assuming the technology of the Star Trek universe, or assuming current day tech, or something in-between?

The tactics and strategy of a battle is almost completely dependent on the platforms that are engaging in the fight - and in this particular case, would also have a great deal to do with what fantasy technological solutions exist that would make combat in space viable. 

Ah - how quickly the past is forgotten.

LOTRO was on the ropes a year after launch.  Subs decreased sharply in the first year or so due to a lack of high-end content (being Angmar only at the time), bland zones (Lonelands anyone?), and an almost militant lack of interest in supporting the PvMP system.

Subs had dropped below 100K by some estimates (some of the same used to indicate the game's success now).  This forum was thick with doom and gloom (not that it's ever clear of it - but trends are trends).

Moria breathed new life into a dying game at the time.  That was when things started to look up.  The lifetime memberships probably kept the game from going out entirely (upfront dose of cash, plus a cadre of players that keep the populations up as they drift in and out - my opinion anyway).

Oh - and EVE Online sat in the top spot here for so long it was silly.  It's long been known that a small, militant player population can skew the ratings here if motivated to do so.

Originally posted by Cerion

While EVE is probably the better Sandbox game out there, I think Mr Richardson's metaphor of a brick is a bit mis-representative of EVE.

EVE simply does not have that level of granularity to it.  EVE controls the number of Bricks you have (mining), and it controls the way in which those Bricks can be arranged (blueprints).   Compare the old Lego sets which were free form and the new themed Lego sets in which you build what is depicted on the box.  EVE is the latter.  You cannot innovate in EVE.


 

I would have to say that the establishment of an actual bank (no matter the outcome), or the months-long espionage antics are proof enough that it's possible to innovate in EVE.  Your focus is too narrow.  All MMOs will have mechanics that cannot be changed by the players - just some games focus on providing mechanics without defined usage attached.

 

The brick thing is an analogy, and by nature imperfect, but it's close.  There was (and remains) nothing coded into the game that demands 0.0 space is a ganking paradise for instance.  If the players wanted it, by this time next year 0.0 could be player-policed and just as safe as Empire.  Of course, it would be boring without all the politics and maneuvering for space - but it's possible.  That's the key thing of EVE, there really are fewer limits on what you can and can't do than in other MMOs.

 

EVE is a very "masculine" oriented game.  It feeds the testosterone-driven impulses of human nature.  Generally the people that find EVE boring are the ones that really have no experience / time / desire to make their own goals and achieving them.  EVE requires people to have an ego to get the most out of it.  Most other MMOs feed you the story, EVE hands you a recipe book and says "good luck with that".

*shrug*

All of those points are indicative of poor management.  The same people that run these games into the ground would end up running any business into the ground - be it a Quicky Mart or a McDonald's franchise.

By and large (from my personal experience) MMO game developers have just enough "artist" in them to hand-wave away a very large part of the realities of designing and running a business - because they are visionaries, misunderstood in their own time and so forth.

It's kind of understandable in a way.  A game dev gets promoted up the ladder from QA or CS based on their ideas and capabilities.  The erstwhile bug-hunter shows that he's got a fantastic way of putting together game systems to make a really fun and successful game - thus he's make lead producer, head developer and whatever.

But then the studio wants a new game, or that eager beaver wants to strike out on his own and make the game he always dreamed of, and all of a sudden he's not a designer or developer anymore - he's a manager.  And large-scale management / leadership is a skill-set he simply doesn't have.  Going down in flames would be the expected result here - especially if it's on a high-profile game with a lot of pressure to perform.

 

Add to that the creeping notion that publishers aren't looking for the "best" game, they're looking for the game that might pull in numbers like WoW (which wasn't the best game either at launch - but simply captured lightning in a bottle and ran with it) and it's not tough to see why most MMOs suck.

 

The only mention of FE in that article is when the dev says he's notoriously slow at leveling in MMOs (such as Fallen Earth).  Otherwise it's an opinion piece.

 

The article is simply a question posed to a developer, it could have been some dude from WoW just as easily.  MMORPG.com however has implied FE is the subject of the article by including FE pictures in the body of the text. 

 

That's where the misinterpretation lies.

If someone wanted to try it, I'm certain that they'd need to bring it before some sort of court to clarify the nature of the service.  As you say yourself, there are several questions.

They may not fall under a goods and services act at all even.  It's possible that because it's an extension of an ongoing contract (no matter the means by which the contract is extended) that it falls under contract law.

Frankly - I'm not sure there is a coverage, but I'd probably suggest looking at cell phone contracts or similar for examples as there's a greater chance of a similar case being explored in that case.

Originally posted by SirPaco
Originally posted by Torik

I would think that MMORPGs would fall under the exlusion clause of 'once the actual service has commenced'.  The companies simply have to add the required warnings to the account creation screens and they are covered since the 'service' starts as soon as you activate your account.

 

not necessarily.

In the case being discussed in the AoC forums, the user had 1 month game time left but purchased 3 months additional.

Technically speaking, those 3 months have been delivered to him, but the actual service has NOT commenced.

 

P.S. is a subscription to a MMORPG a good or a service?

Probably either.

If it's a physical object (i.e. a time card or a code you input) then it would likely be classed a "good" and on top of that would probably be classed as "open software" and thus excluded.

If it's a credit card subscription then it would probably be a "service" because it's simply entering into an agreement to a certain number of months at a certain rate.  That one might be debatable in the example you put forward above - but would likely require legal intervention to compel it.  This of course would only be debatable if there is no clause in the "fine print" that specifically informs the customer that no refunds will be permitted once the sale is complete.

Originally posted by Stradden
...MMO companies don't get into it for the boxes, they're into it for the long term subscription revenue....

You know - I'm just not so certain of this fact anymore.  At least when it comes to the biggest publishing companies (primarily thinking North American here, EA / SOE / perhaps Cryptic).

I wonder if the business strategy for many MMOs isn't a whole lot closer to single player games than is usually thought.

I'm starting to think that the big dogs in MMO publishing are starting to push for MMOs that provide just a few months of entertainment, and just hype the living daylights out of them prior to launch in order to maximize box sales.  I'm thinking the strategy is simply to recoup and make a bit of profit off the first few months of live, and simply wait and see whether the game catches fire.

It's almost like they know they can't plan on another WOW, so they're just going to toss out game after game with these huge hype machines behind them - and only if the game proves to be lightning-in-a-bottle will the big money for the live game come forth.

Otherwise I think we'll see the WAR story repeated again and again, the dev team downsized and the game going into maintenance mode, as the parent company starts the hype machine for their next offering. 

I'd even go so far as to say that the SOE Station model might very well become predominant, with the big companies having stables of MMOs that draw in just enough subscribers to keep the lights on with a bit of profit to the parent.  Both SOE and EA are going that way, and Cryptic is closing in on it as well.  They might even snap up the odd indy game or gaming company from time to time.

Personally, I hope I'm way wrong - as I'd like to see more immersive worlds that function on long-term subscriber loyalty, but it may be that only the smaller independant companies are likely to offer something of that sort.

Originally posted by Euphoryk
Originally posted by Blackhound

A lot of people are ignorant and believe the English speaking countries are the center of the universe, when a lot of their products are older ones from the Asian countries; hand-me-downs.

Care to list a few? I'm personally curious about what "hand me downs" we have received over the last five years other than Aion.

Enlighten me :)


I wouldn't say "a lot" but the MMO "Sword of the New World" was released in Korea first as "Granada Espada".  Just sayin' :)

 

Mythic failed in the same way that most MMOs fail these days.  They poorly prioritized their post-release workload and as-such wound up with their backs to the wall after a year of live play.

They were behind the 8-ball from day 1 having to put back in the 4 missing classes.  They took far too long to get a grip on the performance issues of the engine.  They never implemented a dynamic balancing system, and they never really balanced out the various archetypes - frankly I'm not sure they ever understood which archetypes were supposed to balance against each other.

Modern MMOs have about 6 months from launch to do a very few things.  They need to squash major and often-seen bugs (i.e. bugs with career skills), they need to ensure smooth performance at all times on any hardware above or at recommended, and they need to iron out disparities between classes and archetypes. 

After that time a modern MMO had better be working on expanding and improving content for level-capped players.  If they don't they'll lose them to boredom while the dev team is screwing around on other systems. 

Frankly, if a game launches and has a dire need to redo content in the newbie experience or the lower level areas within the first year - they should never have launched in the first place and will constantly be playing catch-up throughout the first several years of live service (if they make it that far).  MMO companies need to embrace the idea that whatever they launch with outside of bugs and end-game is what should be in place for at least a year virtually untouched.

Since you need a .mil address to qualify - afaik it's only american military pers.

Sometimes I read through this site, and on my more forgiving days I occurs that perhaps players are just not seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to MMOs.

Comparing the MMO genre to single-player games, just think of how many crappy shovelware games are out there for consoles.  As a percentage of the total number of available games, I'd generally suggest that there are a higher number of decent MMOs than decent console games.

As to the engrossing story in MMOs - developers are rather stuck there.  Games that provide a story have to provide it for everyone - and thus must either be heavily instanced or fall back on the generic questing for most of it.  Consider that single player RPGs are generally only 40-60 hours of play at most (some as low as 20).  You just can't have a stable community-driven experience if people are done with the game in a month or so.  So they all fall back on easy-to-design (repeatable) content.

On the other hand, if developers don't provide a steady stream of quests - a large percentage of the playerbase won't give them a second look because they are simply not capable of making their own fun (as in SWG or EVE or UO).

I do think you're slightly unfair in your comparisons however.  No mass-market product can be as good as a customised PnP setting with a group of friends - looking for the same in MMOs is bound to end in disappointment.

Similarly, not all MMOs are created equal.  To say the genre is failing because WAR and UO aren't the same isn't really taking into account that they were never designed for the same purpose.  I played WAR for a year, and generally had fun with it for what it was - basically an e-sport, a pick-up game of swords-and-sorcery football.  I didn't expect the deep and engrossing experience I had with EVE or SWG and so I wasn't upset when it wasn't there.  (not to say I didn't have problems with Mythic's development - just that I was satisfied with the game for the most part)

 

The key is that the old, monolithic "MMORPG" title has grown to the point where there are sub-genres within it.  As fashions change and players evolve, certain types of MMO experiences will be more prevalent.  Right now we're tailing off the majority of the WOW model, and many new games are seeking to innovate in small ways to bring a piece of the Warcraft audience to their game. 

It's unfortunate that MMOs take so long to develop, as that strands fans of a particular genre in a very dry spell when their chosen game-play model isn't in vogue (much like in other genres - flight-sim fans for instance) - which is one of the reasons I believe that Fallen Earth seems to be garnering as much favourable reaction among "vets" in this community and others.

I think you're feeling a bit of the stranded feeling at the moment.  In time something will probably come out that is right up your alley - but my only thought would be that until that comes around, if you play a game try to play it for what it is rather than what you wish it would be.

Cheers.

In my mind this review simply exposes a much larger issue for Dana and MMORPG.com to solve with their "official" reviews as a whole.  What is the specific purpose of the official review at this site and do the current pieces reflect that goal?

Is the MMORPG.com review supposed to be a guide or introduction to the basic features of the game?

Is it supposed to be an objective benchmark of the game features as measured against common examples of the industry?

Is it supposed to be a subjective report of that specific reviewer's experiences within the first several hours of gameplay?

 

In my mind, these 3 examples aren't particularily compatible, so jamming them all into the same review piece likely won't work well.  Were authors plentiful the ideal solution would be to give every game 3 pieces (AoC has been given a similar treatment I believe) - however given the number of releases I'd suspect that's not a tenable option.

As such, a choice needs to be made and communicated clearly to the audience so they know what the intention of the piece (and all similar ones) is. 

My personal thoughts are that the "subjective impressions" style piece is not overly useful or warrented.  The internet is infested with opinion, as are these forums.  If I want subjective opinions and an aggregate "community" score - I need look no further than the user opinions section.  It takes a bit of trolling to get a good idea below all the spin and counter-spin - but it's there.

Similarly, the "guide" type of piece isn't terribly useful if that's the sum of the piece.  There is a place for it, but if the whole review simply steps through the systems involved it tends to lead to (yet another) opinion piece.

 

So I tend to favour the "benchmark" type of review personally.  Ideally, I would like to be able to flip to any "official" review on this site and see a common format examining common features, with the review largely focused on objective measures (if possible - i.e. Frames per second) and comparisons to other MMOs of simliar age.  Each section gets scored objectively, and the aggregate score is what is reported as the "official" rating.

It would be nice to see a summary at the very top of the article as to the main features of the game (genre, PvP available, subscription model, etc), and it probably wouldn't be out of line to have a brief summary of the reviewer's machine specs as well.

The main downside to having such reviews would be a stifling of the creativeness of the individual writer.  To compensate, perhaps the last section of the review could be a clearly labled "subjective impressions" section where the writer can go off on whatever impressions they had.  Such a section should have no bearing on the scoring of the review - but could be a useful counterpoint to the more formulaic benchmarking review.

 

While I don't see anything inherrently wrong with opinion based reviewing, generally they are only useful if one discovers a reviewer that shares similar tastes - and then follows that reviewer exclusively.  This is fine for professional reviewers (Roger Ebert and similar) who can generally be expected to review most of the pieces in their field - but this site generally only has one reviewer from a pool of writers on any given game.  As such, even if I found an MMORPG.com revewer I agreed with - there would be no guarentee a given game would be reviewed by that person, and so this site's review for that particular game is useless to me.

 

Just a few thoughts on the issues this situation brought to light in my mind.  Withdrawing the review was the right decision regardless, kudos.

 

Any game with set classes is going to be a disappointment for someone that wants to build a specific character concept.

Perhaps you should explore the (few) skill-based MMO options if you really want a character of a specific build.

As to the specifics of appearance - it's unlikely that any MMO will be able to fit your mental image of a character exactly.  Perhaps in Second Life (not sure) and certainly in a text-based MUD (yes, they still exist), but otherwise you're at the mercy of a third-party for your apperance options.

Virtually everything under your "Personality" heading is purely up to you to portray.  There isn't anything in any game that stops you from portraying a character as you have described.  If you don't already - try getting tapped into the various RP communities that exist (often underground or off the beaten path) in most MMOs.

If you're not tied to the idea of swords and sorcery, Fallen Earth would allow you to approximate your character build (with mutations in place of the magic powers) - but it's a post-apocalyptic setting which may not be to your liking.  It's also very new and still suffering from teething issues (if that sort of thing bothers you - balance and stability issues mostly).

Originally posted by eric_w66

Eve is a single world seperated by a crap ton of zones, which in effect, is "multiple servers" sharing a common chat interface (EQ1 did this).

As for a single world without zones, Eve can't do that, WW2 Online does. And did it well before Eve ever came around.

 

You've got two different things confused together there.

EVE has one shard with a lot of zones.  Correct.  There are not multiple "servers" (in the common usage of the term) because there is only one replica of the game running.  People confuse the term "server" and "shard" all the time.

There is no MMO on the planet (afaik) that does not zone their worlds.  Some have seamless transitions between zones and some don't - but all are zoned nonetheless.  There simply isn't a technical way that I'm aware of to fit the expansive content inherrent to MMOs, with the "massive" number of players required, onto one physical CPU.

I.E.  You can run the length and width of Vanguard (or LotRO - baring the PvP zone - when I last played) without encountering a loading screen.  Both games have zones the same way EQ did, but handle the loading of the zones in a manner that seems seamless to the player.
 

As to the writer - the article comes off as very naieve to state boldly that CO innovated a shardless model.  Their particular take on a single-shard game is slightly different, but the writing of the piece used too broad a brush when painting that statement.  As a result, the author came across as having only played WoW and CO (which was probably not the intent).

Originally posted by Spiider

 What I said is 100% correct. CCP didn't punish t20 harsh enough for whatever reason. Management on holidays or marsian invasion, who cares. t20 did something far worse then exploiting a bug and got away with a slap on his wrist.  And they didn't even pull the BPOs he spawned from the game. They didn't and they could have. 

 

*shrug*

Believe whatever misguided thing you like, but you're still wrong.  Nobody knows what T20 got hit with besides CCP management and T20 himself - so saying it was a slap on the wrist is pure conjecture on your part.  There are punitive actions other than firing.

The BPOs in question were in fact removed from the game and recycled into the lottery system.  What CCP didn't do was attempt to remove the ISK generated for BoB by those blueprints, as that action would have been extremely disruptive to the game overall (if not impossible).  The BPOs in question weren't even very lucrative for the most part anyway.

 

www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp

www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp

Originally posted by Spiider

t20 scandal was a disgrace but also left CCP in bad position so that they can not punish anyone with what they deserve as t20 saw no consequences even though he changed the course of the game. Each new offender can only raise this when prosecuted and get away lightly. 


 

This is actually completely incorrect.

The problem with the T20 situation was that it wasn't discovered quickly enough, and when it was discovered most of the senior management was out on leave (Icelandic employees get a lot of leave time).

T20 had been with CCP for a long time, and the people that remained in charge while the senior managment didn't want to fire him for fear of what would happen when everyone returned from leave.  T20 was "diciplined" however, which probably meant deletion of his character, removal of dev permissions on the live server, and some other kinds of internal sanctions.

Because he was punished for his transgression, when management returned they couldn't fire him because (as far as I can gather) there are laws preventing the double punishment of an employee in Iceland.  At any rate, CCP brass couldn't fire T20 without exposing themselves to legal ramifications and thus tried to keep the whole situation in-house.

Then a player managed to find information about this whole mess (after the fact) on the BoB forums (through seeing director PMs I believe) , exposed it all, and watched the crap hit the fan.

After handling the PR very poorly for a while, CCP eventually came as clean as they could and promised to institute an Internal Affairs department to oversee all developer and other priviledged accounts as they relate to the game.

It's because of the establishment of the IA department that the subject of this article was caught in short order.  I know for fact that a few GMs and a couple of the live event team volunteers (back when events took place in-game) have been investigated and terminated by IA as well for taking advantage of their positions.

CCP faced a serious challenge and fell on their face.  They proceeded to pick themselves back up and make the best amends possible to ensure the situation wouldn't happen again.  IA ensures that will be the case.

Originally posted by Tuutob

I played WAR at launch and loved it for the most part. It had its fair share of bugs and whatnot, but it was a solid idea with a fun and well built-in PvP progression system, something that WoW will never, ever have.

I am thinking of coming back, but have become hesitant with news of imbalance/dying servers/boring endgame. Because of such news, there are a few questions I would love to have answered by you guys:

- Which server would be best to reroll on if I want a lot of people to group with straight from the get-go? I hate soloing in the beginning, especially in a game with those nifty PvE events (forgot what they're called... scenarios?)

- Are there any classes that are ridiculously imbalanced? It would suck if a game so based on PvP had a few godlike classes that everyone else feared...

- How is endgame? Is there good PvE AND PvP content, or do you have to choose one?

Thanks in advance! Any input is greatly appreciated.

Take it for what it's worth, but here's my POV (been playing since launch)
 

There aren't all that many choices left as far as servers go, but the best bet at the moment is Iron Rock.  It is the most consistently high population server for both factions.  You'll see a fair number of people from the get-go on IR.

Yes, a couple of classes are out-and-out better than the others.  On the Order faction the poster child is the Bright Wizard, followed closely by the Warrior Priest.  For Destruction, the only one that potentially qualifies as imbalanced is the Squig Herder.  The larger problem is that in almost every instance, the Order versions of each class mirror are superior to the Destruction ones.

The endgame is present - which is better than I can say for most MMOs a year in - but it grows stale rather quickly.  Unfortunately due to design, the only way that the PvP end game tends to progress is when one faction outnumbers the other.  If the factions are relatively balanced the endgame tug of war is pretty much a stalemate.  If one faction gets the upper hand numerically though, it tends to set up a downward spiral for the other side that only stops if the winning faction stops pushing their advantage long enough for the defeated side to recover.

End game PvE isn't tremendously varied, but it's there.  5 group sized instanced dungeons that you step through as you get the gear from each one.  You're not locked into PvE or PvP, but depending on your class the gear from one stream or the other might be the set you prefer / need to obtain (i.e. most healers want the PvE sets for pure healing - though it's not always that cut-and-dried).

WAR is a game still facing some significant up-hill challenges.  Mostly around class balance and overall population balance.  The main worry about the game is that it won't sustain low server populations the way a more PvE focused game might.  Not only do you need a good number of people on your side to play - you also need a good (and even) number on the other side to be your "content".  If one side disappears the server usually goes down shortly thereafter.  Hence why the game has consolidated so many servers since this time last year.

I'm convinced that for some reason many MMO forumites have some kind of long-term memory problems when it comes to recalling the performance of other games.

Take release bugginess - WoW was an awful mess when it released, it took - what - a year to iron most of the worst out?  WAR had a much smoother launch than that - and genuinely the smoothest I've personally been part of - and yet it's epic fail because Altdorf stutters on some machines.  Anyone remember the laggy hell that was Bree in the first month or two of LOTRO?

LOTRO is actually an excellent example.  Does anyone not remember the "fact" that LOTRO was epic fail about six months in?  That it wouldn't live out the year?  The end game was non-existant, there were no good raids, PvMP was horribly broken, people were quitting as soon as they hit Angmar, and so on.  And yet with the Moria release LOTRO is being lauded as one of the best options for a PvE game out there.  This from a game that was claimed to have 100K subs at best about a year ago, and hadn't added servers since shortly after launch.

It's nuts.  So many fanciful tales made up to suit the way the wind blows.

CCP damn near failed right out of the gate.  It went months with subs in the thousands.  The only thing that saved it was that the original dev team was on a shoestring budget and had a huge passion for it - more like garage developers than a professional game house.  Bungled release, huge exploits and a massively unfriendly game experience to new players could have sank it right there - but their secret weapon was the single game server. 

MMO players all judge a game's success by feel of population.  In EVE you could see the population of the entire game all at once - right on the splash screen at that.  Instant feed back that the game wasn't dying and so the herd panic never really took hold.

Rant aside....

WAR will be fine.  It'll stabilize (if it hasn't already) and the remaining devs will continue to improve the game (the team's still huge for an MMO live team - I'd expect many more to move on or get let go in the near future TBH).  It's pure wishful (and malicious at that) thinking to doomsay anything about doors closing at year's end.

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