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NetDevil
MMORPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 04/11/06)  | Pub:NCSoft
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Auto Assault Forum » The Drive-In (General) » is auto assault death a good thing for MMOs?

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58 posts found
  Ulfar

Novice Member

Joined: 1/27/04
Posts: 75

7/23/06 5:27:35 AM#41
Back to the original question is the death of auto assault a good thing for MMO's ? Yes it is in my opinion.

The main reason being that it shows gamers won't put up with rubbish anymore.

This game despite claims to the contrary isn't daring or inovative. The only difference it has is your sprite moves quicker.

For this to be the game I wanted it should have been about driving skill while blowing things up. My car should never ever have been stationary while playing. Instead most of the time I found myself acting like a gun turret for my ground troops while auto attacking.

The other problems are the game lacked some fundamental features such as

An auction house, This may have made the stupidly complex crafting system slightly easier.

A decent crafting system, not more to be said about that.

Front mount weapons, These were just horrible and a big turnoff.

More vehicles.

Better grouping, I like to solo but to not cater to group's well then you are asking for trouble.

Loot, this was crap pretty much everything was very similar.

Rant over now, time to lie down.


  Amarsir

Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/06
Posts: 703

7/25/06 5:46:49 PM#42

I really liked the front-page comments from Blurr and TheAesthete - shame I didn't find this thread a week ago to comment on a more timely basis. Nevertheless, nothing stopping me from weighing in now. How good or bad AA's death is depends on what lessons developers, and to a lesser extent players, take away from it.

The next time someone pitches a car-based MMO to try to get development money, they're inevitably going to face the question "didn't someone do that? Didn't it fail colossally?" While you and I know that there were deeper issues, that's not so apparent to everyone. It would be all too easy to look at the MMO environment and say "Fantasy sells big, sci-fi does ok, heroes are niche, cars are a flop. Make another Elves & Swords game!" That's bad, because not only does it rule out a genre with potential, but it underestimates what's needed to make a successful game.

By contrast, I think the flop of DDO (is that premature?) is a good thing. On the surface, fantasy genre and known brand, it should have been huge. This inevitably prompts a deeper look.

What does the deeper look show? Well lets try to compare AA with everyone's favorite 800 lb gorilla, WoW. (And if my impressions of the two games are incorrect, feel free to correct me.)

Pacing: WoW is a rather slow-paced game. You spend 10 minutes going to a location, pull one guy, spend a minute or so fighting him, pull the next guy. Afterwards 10 minutes to run back, then half an hour getting trained and setting up an auction, etc. In AA by comparison, I can get from one city to another in a minute, destroying 10 buildings and killing 50 enemies along the way. And that's if I didn't want to rush and take INC. Takeaway = Slow play is good

Leveling speed: The number I've seen for average time to reach lvl 60 in WoW is 500 hours. Not enough data for a good statistical sample on AA, but I'd say it's a tad shy of that. Takeaway = Nothing learned here

Endgame Content: WoW = somewhat lacking. AA = Extremely lacking. Of course this is a problem for nearly everyone. Takeaway = You need an endgame, and soon.

PvP: WoW has flagging by server, then to a lesser extent by zone, then to a lesser extent by action or opt-in. This creates an immersive PvP environment where PvP seems to grow organically, yet doesn't seem forced on players. AA has PvP by selecting an instance of a zone. It's not forced on people but never really positioned to tempt them either. Takeaway = Make PvP opportunities obvious and bait people with them.

Skill vs Items vs Builds: Though debated, what makes a WoW player powerful seems to be first the items they have, then the build they've chosen, then the subtlety of technique with it. In AA, weapons seem to dominate in PvE but in PvP accuracy is downgraded to require aiming skill. In neither case do build choices seem as crucial. Takeaway = Powerful items make average players feel mighty.

Build variations: While it's pretty much a given that certain set builds will be considered optimal no matter what (and perhaps not deservingly), it's worth considering the "how can it be done" choices. In WoW, 2 factions, 4 races in each faction, 8 classes among the faction, 3 divergent trees for each class, enough talent points to limit progress up different trees. That's a lot of choices. In AA, 3 races, 4 classes in each race, 3 trees but not mutually exclusive. Builds tend to converge unintentinally, before even looking to guides. Takeaway = Varied builds tempt players

Crafting: Both WoW and AA have crafting. AA's is more complex, and rarely leads to crafted items being better than found ones. Lack of an auction house means crafting for others isn't easy either. Takeaway = Crafting is good, but it must be simple with obvious benefits

Teamwork vs solo play: In AA you can get all the way to level 80 solo. In WoW, you can get to level 60 solo, but you miss out on a lot. In both cases, for average play teaming is optional and short-lived (And occaisionally counter-productive.) However, WoW creates situations that make teaming more tempting especially full teams or larger raids. AA requires players make their own opportunities, at best allowing things sooner via teams. Takeaway = Teamwork, especially with large numbers, is a selling point.

Roles on teams: WoW has variety in characters, and this variety creates roles on teams so players feel needed. AA has some variety in characters, but in terms of play experience teams are made from whoever is available. There's very little "we need a ..." and any player is replaceable with pretty much anyone else. Takeaway = Build players toward team roles

Instances: Both make use of instances in small amounts but for the most part have a larger shared world. Takeaway = Nothing learned here

I'm sure I've left out factors, and perhaps mis-evaulated some. And of course the lessons would be different if comparing two other games. But as I see it, a producer looks at the failure of AA and the success of WoW, and tells the next developers:

"Make a fantasy game with a slow pace. Have fixed roles but options within them, and make teaming necessary for the most powerful gear but optional overall. Gear is very important, so make sure loot has a powerful effect on the game. Crafting needs to be simple but with obvious rewards and an available marketplace. PvP should be avoidable, but make sure it's in players' faces so they're tempted by it. And get them to the top level quick, but come up with something to do after that."

If that describes the perfect game for you, then the failure of AA (and success of WoW) is a good thing.

Currently playing:
DC Universe
Planetside 2
Magic Online
Simunomics, the Massive Multiplayer Economic Simulation Game. Play for free.

  trike

Novice Member

Joined: 10/13/04
Posts: 86

"If we couldn't laugh, we would all be insane." -- Jimmy Buffett

7/25/06 9:16:55 PM#43
While you make good points, Amarsir, I think the real comparison anyone should do using WoW is with whatever has similar name recognition.  Star Wars, The Matrix, Dungeons and Dragons, all of them high-profile brand name flops.

AA failed for its own reasons.  The only other all-vehicle MMO game I can think of offhand is EvE Online, which also has limited appeal but appears to be doing okay with its relatively small subscriber base.

  Vhaln

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 3167

7/25/06 11:40:03 PM#44

Originally posted by Amarsir

Pacing: WoW is a rather slow-paced game. You spend 10 minutes going to a location, pull one guy, spend a minute or so fighting him, pull the next guy. Afterwards 10 minutes to run back, then half an hour getting trained and setting up an auction, etc. In AA by comparison, I can get from one city to another in a minute, destroying 10 buildings and killing 50 enemies along the way. And that's if I didn't want to rush and take INC. Takeaway = Slow play is good


I agree with many of your points, and the initial premise that the answer to the question depends on what conclusions are drawn, but I don't think WOW makes a good basis for such direct comparison.  Number one, because the very first step NetDevil did wrong was that they didn't first develop two massively successful series like Warcraft, and Diablo.  That aside...

It's also a bit of a different genre, as best emphasised by your first point.  AA is supposed to be faster paced.  It's supposed to be different.  Where as WoW is supposed to be a refinement of the existing genre, at almost every point.

Considering that, I think NetDevil should have better considered who that faster paced vehicular theme would appeal to.  Which target audience they were going for, by doing it that way.  Who would enjoy the violence and mayhem of speeding through a post-apocalyptic world in wheeled death machines.  Those who thought the premise of the game sounded like fun, and would try it.  I highly doubt that would be your average WoW player, so making the game even more like WoW probably wouldn't have saved it.

Problem, in my estimation, is that they totally failed to target thier audience squarely.  They basically advertised to one group, while making a game for another.  That might not have been such a collossal blunder, if they'd at least better targetted the latter audience instead, but rather, they made a hybrid.  Hybrids tend to be weak all around, and AA is no exception, so even the overlap between those two groups wasn't interested.

Like I've been saying since my first few weeks in AA's early beta, they were first dropping the ball for not making it more of an adrenaline-addict's action game, but then knocking that ball right out of play, by not making it more like familiar paced RPGs in the genre, either.

And it's pissed me off more than any other massively multiplayer disappointment to date, because after following this genre since UO first hit the shelves, I thought AA had THE BEST premise for an MMO to ever reach daylight

When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  Amarsir

Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/06
Posts: 703

7/26/06 1:21:04 PM#45


I think the real comparison anyone should do using WoW is with whatever has similar name recognition. Star Wars, The Matrix, Dungeons and Dragons, all of them high-profile brand name flops.
You're absolutely right. With each of those, there would have been a similar method, different list. And it would be better comparisons too. I only included AA as such a high profile because, well, that's the topic. :)


Considering that, I think NetDevil should have better considered who that faster paced vehicular theme would appeal to. Which target audience they were going for, by doing it that way. Who would enjoy the violence and mayhem of speeding through a post-apocalyptic world in wheeled death machines. Those who thought the premise of the game sounded like fun, and would try it. I highly doubt that would be your average WoW player, so making the game even more like WoW probably wouldn't have saved it.
I was thinking last night that the market hasn't properly segmented yet - although it certainly seems most online role-playing games aren't too friendly to role players. (That's another topic.) It's happening slowly, but still it would be really hard to go into a game store and have the clerk say "this MMO is for people who ABC, and this MMO is if you XYZ."

What I didn't mention in that earlier post is I personally don't like a slow-paced game either. I found SWG, even in the "pre-spoiled" days, to be way too boring. WoW couldn't hold my attention, and I'm sure I wouldn't have liked Everquest. Only CoH has managed to keep me for several renewals worth, and I wanted to like Auto Assault. For me, it failed despite - not because - it's a fast game.

But I worry that this won't come across. That the next thing to come even close would be a result of evolution on a racing-style game. And I also worry that this may suggest people like me, and yourself, are in the minority and not worth marketing to.

Currently playing:
DC Universe
Planetside 2
Magic Online
Simunomics, the Massive Multiplayer Economic Simulation Game. Play for free.

  User Deleted
7/29/06 7:57:06 AM#46

Serling, if you want desperately to believe something, that's fine. Just don't expect the rest of us to fall for it. :)



To return to the original question: I think that if AA fails, it will reinforce with investors to only back the fast food MMOGs ... class-based level-grind MMOGs. It's easy, quick, low-risk, and millions of people will buy into it.

The GOOD thing though is that with things like Explorations RPG, RealmCrafter, and other products out there, MMOG creation (not necessarily completion ;) ) in within the reach of every Joe Gamer.


  Serling

Novice Member

Joined: 2/06/06
Posts: 671

7/29/06 10:25:37 AM#47


Serling, if you want desperately to believe something, that's fine. Just don't expect the rest of us to fall for it. :)

And this would be regarding...?

  Serling

Novice Member

Joined: 2/06/06
Posts: 671

7/29/06 10:33:51 AM#48


No theme is going to appeal to everyone. How is AA any different than any other game in that respect?

The point is that given the popularity of WoW and other fantasy-based games, the "car wars" theme (apparently) had far less initial appeal than anything else out there.

If you can't even get people - like me - to try the game, how are you going to sell it?

  fizzle322

Novice Member

Joined: 12/14/05
Posts: 728

7/29/06 12:06:06 PM#49
Community.

You drive around holding the button down, killing stuff, levelling up, but when do people come together?

I played the game for 2 days, didn't group with anybody, just drove around killing stuff. It was boring and pointless, and I stopped logging in.
  fizzle322

Novice Member

Joined: 12/14/05
Posts: 728

7/29/06 12:08:14 PM#50
And one more thing.

This game isnt "risky."

Netdevil did the same thing all the games do. Exp/level grind. Just they did it with cars.

Whats next, speed boats? snowmobiles?

They just took the avatar and replaced it with a car.
  User Deleted
7/29/06 6:38:26 PM#51

Originally posted by Amarsir

The next time someone pitches a car-based MMO to try to get development money, they're inevitably going to face the question "didn't someone do that? Didn't it fail colossally?" While you and I know that there were deeper issues, that's not so apparent to everyone. It would be all too easy to look at the MMO environment and say "Fantasy sells big, sci-fi does ok, heroes are niche, cars are a flop. Make another Elves & Swords game!" That's bad, because not only does it rule out a genre with potential, but it underestimates what's needed to make a successful game.



Very well said, btw
  Jd1680a

Novice Member

Joined: 4/10/05
Posts: 399

The eye will be watching

 
OP  8/04/06 1:17:42 PM#52

Just to clarify quickly on what i mean auto assault death is a good thing.

I was referring to the outlook of the future of mmos.  Auto Assault failure will communicate to other developers and publishers in the future on what kind of games we, customers, will want to play.  Ncsoft just lost $13 million on Auto Assault, other developers arent willing to give up that kind of money.  So they rather invest their miillions on a genre that is more likely to give them profit.  If fantasy MMOs are the type of mmos we, the customers, are willing to go to, then that what we will see in the future.

On top of that Auto Assault only had 11,000 people on its first month of operation.  That says alot, that we, the customers, were not interested in a game like Auto Assault.  Ive never played Auto Assault, but the point is that its initital out look on its first month was not that great.  If you compared to other successful mmos, Auto Assault was a complete flop.

We, the customers, have the power to tell these developers what we want and dont want.  This is how we do it by using our money.  Next time will Ncsoft be willing to do another car themed mmo?  No they wont.  Why? because they dont want to lose money, they instead want to make it.

At the beginning I did appreicate NCsoft willing to try something new.  Been inventive with the mmo market.  Auto Assaults failure in a long run a good thing for us, because it will result in better games.

jd1680a Xfire Miniprofile
  Vhaln

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 3167

8/04/06 3:28:06 PM#53

Originally posted by Serling


No theme is going to appeal to everyone. How is AA any different than any other game in that respect?

The point is that given the popularity of WoW and other fantasy-based games, the "car wars" theme (apparently) had far less initial appeal than anything else out there.

If you can't even get people - like me - to try the game, how are you going to sell it?


By making it good enough that the people who it does appeal to, and do try it, actually enjoy it, and want to pay money to keep playing?  Lots of player did give AA a shot, during open beta, and in free trials, but the vast majority of them didn't have enough fun with it to see spending a single dime on it.

Isn't that pretty fundamental?  Or do you really think the majority appeal is all that matters, and all devs would do better making EverQuest clones, fighting over that same big pie slice, despite that it would mean competing more directly with giants like Blizzard and SOE?  There are a few advantages to devs going after those smaller pie slices, but either way, the game has to be fun for the audience that it appeals to.

When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  Serling

Novice Member

Joined: 2/06/06
Posts: 671

8/05/06 5:33:43 AM#54

One final note on "Car Wars"..er...Auto Assault:

NCSoft released its second quarter balance sheet on 8/4/06. That report can be found here:

http://ncsoft.com/eng/nccompany/ir_data_report04.asp

Of interest to note for AA players: Auto Assault isn't even mentioned by name in the report. It's simply refered to as "Other."

This game won't make it past Christmas, if even that long.

  Serling

Novice Member

Joined: 2/06/06
Posts: 671

8/05/06 5:45:24 AM#55


By making it good enough that the people who it does appeal to, and do try it, actually enjoy it, and want to pay money to keep playing?

Thank you for making my point. The people to whom it did appeal represented such a small segment of the MMO market, that there simply were not enough people willing to pay for it to help keep it afloat.

  Boozek

Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 110

Forum trolls and crap sandwiches. no matter how much mustard it''s still crap

8/05/06 5:10:09 PM#56

This kind of reminds me of Earth and Beyond. starships not cars were the main avatars, yet in spaceports you still had a persona. The game was hella fun, but never had enough advertising once EA bought out westwood to attract a playerbase. Hell Europe never saw a single add, and even thou out of about 40k subs initially 10k were Eurasian it was word of mouth.

For a product to succeed it needs promotion. I never saw auto assault adds and I flit through gaming sites quite a bit.

Never played the game, and mind you cars just arent my thing, if I had come across something that had made me search up a review I may have tried it. For me it's about gameplay not friggin elves and dragons. Only fantasy game I have played (and currently play is DaoC) and that's mostly for multy team PvP (RvR).

I've lost games in the past and I know the hurt the players that feel this has potential have. Dont flame em plz.

perhaps you might get lucky. Anarchy online had about the worst launch in history. But funcom didnt write it off. They fought and kept it alive. And as outdated as it is they get new subsdaily because they offered the initial game free, pay for expansion content.

Dont give up hope, but dont hold your breath.

  sekrog

Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/06
Posts: 259

4/08/10 11:18:27 AM#57

A quick preface...this thread was started over a year BEFORE Auto Assaults demise. 

I know I'm reviving a four year old thread.  Still, with the exception of a rabid troller, and a few users that allowed him to derail the thread for a short period, there is material in here that is very current and applicable to MMO's in 2010.

First, to all that say the forums on MMORPG.com are "teh suck", they're wrong.  Do threads get derailed? Sure.  But show me a forum where they don't.  Are their way to may "doom and gloom" posts?  Yeah, but that's mostly trollers trying to get fanbois riled up.   What this particular thread demonstrates, however, is how many of the posts here are well thought out and articulate...even if they get a bit heated from time to time.

More intriguingly, this thread is a fantastic read for potential MMO developers.  If you have a unique world environment, you had better create an equally innovative set of game mechanics (i.e. EVE) or you'll end up like AA.  That said, Tabula Rasa had both, but still failed. 

I also thought the single post that best described the reasoning for the current monoculture of MMO's that we have, was the one that imagined a dev team trying to decide what sort of game to make.  It's not hard to understand why game companies are so reluctant to throw $50-$100 million at "revolutionary" MMO's.

So I thought the question could be asked again, and maybe some value judgements be given four years later:

"Was Auto Assaults death a good thing for MMO's?"

 

 

 

  sekrog

Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/06
Posts: 259

4/08/10 11:19:13 AM#58

Deleted by User...double post

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