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MMORPG.com Videos - The Rant - Content Isn't King... Anymore

In this week's Rant, Bill Murphy takes on the sandbox versus theme-park debate in a different way. Why is the content a problem child of the MMO industry, and what can be done to fix it?

Duration: 4:05
Views: 6,508  92 comments
Game: General
Direct Link: http://youtu.be/dlzhN0QlXjU
Icewhite writes: :groan: predictable Bill. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:13AM Report
FARGIN_WAR writes: :groan: predictable Icewhite. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:20AM Report
cosy writes: EvE Clones on the way :P Mon Mar 04 2013 8:25AM Report
xAPOCx writes: Glad to see this topic being taken on in a grander scale instead of small, fourn rants by us so called "old school gamers". The more sites like this talk about these issues, the more game developers will want to make changes to mmos. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:26AM Report
Lobotomist writes: Clap Clap Mon Mar 04 2013 8:27AM Report
Pivotelite writes: Good video. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:29AM Report
Boardwalker writes: Good job, Bill. While I think that themepark and content-based MMOs can still do well, I'd love to see more games emulate the sandbox-like structure of EVE. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:34AM Report
Wraithone writes: Golf clap... ^^  You make some valid points Bill, but some of us have played EVE and such for years, and aren't all that impressed with some of their antics.  They appear to be cleaning up their act at this point, but its too little too late, as far as I'm concerned.  Quality content IS expensive, and is likely to remain so, until technology advances quite a bit.  Player generated content runs into the 4/5's rule (quality is seriously lacking in much of it)... and PvP has a limited draw with many of us. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:43AM Report
AlBQuirky writes: I like the ideas, but most MMO players today have shown time and again that they don't want a living world, but rather a lobby based treadmill type of game.  Since companies are a business, they will make what sells. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:45AM Report
Wicoa writes:

Seriously.... Im going to start having to take mmorpg.com more seriously.... ;)

Bill Im interested if you have the time, no need to name a character etc as that would possibly get you space zapped.  However, do you currently play EVE yourself and if you have the time what are your thoughts on it. What made me bring it to an end was the fact that I wasn't in a good corp "eve guild" and all I was doing was spinning my ships in a station that was almost always surrounded by enemies saying "oh how pretty my ship is". 

Mon Mar 04 2013 8:55AM Report
Khayotix writes: AlBQuirky that is just what those people want you to think, the truth is the voice of those crying out for lobby treadmill games are few and far between! A forum voice always gives the illusion of being many, when in reality,  they are just a hungry angry baby crying in a corner. Mon Mar 04 2013 9:00AM Report
Simsu writes: Someone should be paying me to develop MMOs.. (or at least giving you all writing ideas), because I've been saying for years that the next big MMO needs to be a themepark slapped right in the middle of a big a** sandbox. Mon Mar 04 2013 9:05AM Report
Cypeq writes:

I'd rather see good creative game with their own ideas. Sadly we are flooded by piss poor mmo's but well that's how it allways is. After gigantic success of DIablo II we were floded by crappy hack and slashes...

CoD even being not very good fps yet very successful sales numbers also spawned whole bunch of clones,

So the cloning we'll be here for good because it takes less work and less risks than being innovative and creative. Yet what they seem to forgot is that clone will never take over the original.

Projects that just take spark of inspiration in great games of the past have a future.

I'd rather play WoW on buggy private server than for example Old Republic or WAR.

Mon Mar 04 2013 9:06AM Report
Isturi writes: Cant please all the people all the time. Unfortentenly the standards that players have now that bar is set to high. So Sandbox or theme it dont matter because you always have someone that is not happy one way or the other. Mon Mar 04 2013 9:11AM Report
Archveil writes: I liked what he said, Its too bad SWG was taked by its devs. I wonder how much more fun I would have had years later. :( Mon Mar 04 2013 9:17AM Report
uidCaustic writes:

Judging by the comments I am going to just assume this is another "Go EVE rah rah rah" type thing.

Mon Mar 04 2013 9:19AM Report
Nanfoodle writes:

I dont agree 100%, I think most sandbox games lack enough direction to keep most players going and the fail of themepark MMOs is not that they cant keep up on content. It that at launch most elder game is a after thought and been in development a few months before release. 

 

I think a marrage of themepark and sandbox needs to come together, 50-50% of each but it needs to be joined with play made content like Neverwinter. With tools that lets players make real content that rewards as well as developer made content. Thats the new win IMO.

Mon Mar 04 2013 9:19AM Report
General_Dru-Zod writes: The average MMO player in this day & age cant stomach a game like EvE Mon Mar 04 2013 9:23AM Report
Vesavius writes:

Saryhl, when you say 'they are', you really mean 'we are', or even 'I am'...

 

You aren't in traffic my friend, your *are* traffic. Who is to say the apparent change in the popular forum based fashionable demand for sandbox (where were they 5 years ago?) isn't over represented?

 

Do you not see how what you say about others can be applied to you really easily?

 

I am open to both themeparks and sandboxes, I like anything that is made with ambition, passion, and imagination, but for Bill to say content driven themeparks are almost dead when there are a lot of them around with dedicated playerbases and still making a lot of money seems... confused.  And that's even ignoring that EvE isn't anywhere near as succcessful (financially) as WoW. We won't know the true market for this type of game until we see someone try to emulate EvE's model... who is to say that isn't as much of a freak success, in it's own way, as WoW is?

Mon Mar 04 2013 9:25AM Report
Hodo writes:

There are a couple of types of gamers. 

-PvPer, they love to fight other people, the challenge.

-Sandboxer, loves creating, building and destroying, without rules, guides or reason.

-Themepark player, doesnt want to worry to much about needing to grind this to get to do that, they want to play with others in a setting, and when they are done, they move on. 

 

I personally can break each group down further, but in a nutshell those are the three groups of online gamers.   I myself am a Sandboxer, I love sandbox games, but I also love PvP.     The current market of games out there are all either PVP, SANDBOX, or THEMEPARK.   There are no more true hybrids, or I should say FEW true hybrids left.   Ultima Online was more than just a sandbox, it was a themepark, PvP, and sandbox.    It had dungeons and quests, and epic stories that could be told.   But it also had the ability to just be a blacksmith and have just as much fun as the guy who is out questing.   

 

Todays market of games, lacks this grand concept.   Eve Online does a good job of it, but it pales in comparison to what was the scale of UO.    SWG is another one that came very close but again fell just short of UO.  

There are times I wish I could find that game that drew me in as much as Roma Victor, or UO, or even SQO, but they dont exist anymore.  

 

It really is the "Chasing Amy" syndrome.

Mon Mar 04 2013 9:33AM Report
Ryowulf writes:

Another problem with dev made content is that even when there is a lot of it in most mmos you will at some point out level it.  GW2 delvl'ed you so you could still feel a challenege, but some didn't like that.  

Maybe players should be able to set their lvl back once they have gone above it.  The drops would reflect the color mob you were facing just like normal (gray nothing, etc). 

Wow caught lighting in a bottle, but how do we know Eve's successful model will work for any other mmo?  Plus big AAAs are all about spending tons of cash forcing them to quickly make lots of money or go under.

How does an mmo release small and then grow in today's slash and burn community?

 

Mon Mar 04 2013 9:34AM Report
Krematory writes: Absolutely agree with Bill. Hurray for online worlds! Mon Mar 04 2013 9:34AM Report
jadan2000 writes: Glad you put it out there Bill. i think alot fo us on this site ahve been saying this for a long time now. they need to go back to making online worlds feel liek online worlds and not just, offline give me everything for nothing video games from consoles. Mon Mar 04 2013 10:07AM Report
bcbully writes: Yep, Yep. EVE, Age of Wushu. Everything else is lacking. Mon Mar 04 2013 10:11AM Report
Phelcher writes: We don't have game developers anymore... they are just business men who hire people to make software for them, fore money...  Mon Mar 04 2013 10:33AM Report
barezz writes: I don't think that a snadbox MMO will enjoy true success until it divorces the sandbox construction from non consensual PvP.  If PvP was a choice in sandbox games as opposed to a forced reality it would open up the game to a wider playerbase.  There are quite a few players who do not enjoy the PvP playstyle. Mon Mar 04 2013 10:34AM Report
tintilinic writes:

Thats one of biggest mistery and at a same time not a mystery. Now imagine all those suits with money that want to make even more money sitting at the table and you have to present them your project.

"On one side we have WoW with 10-12-9-w/e million players and on other side we have EvE with 300k"

What do you think they will invest their money in? They mostly see only numbers.

But, once in a while someone with insight and intuition comes along who is willing to take risk and manage to see opportunity. Unfortunately we kind of have to wait for that guy ;P

EvE is too hardcore for many MMOers but has many concepts that manage to bring together elements that are apart in other games.

So yes, EvE is definately something worth investigating, bring those concepts to wider audence without watering them down too much.

Rant on!

Mon Mar 04 2013 10:41AM Report
azmundai writes: The problem is, with the exception of maybe EA's failure with SWTOR, these crappy themeparks generally make the investors quite a bit of money. The investors don't really play these games, or even if they do, the bottom line is more important than whether the game is good or lasting or not. Workers are the commodity. As long as people continue to pre-order these titles months in advanced just so they are assured that they have the purple frog pet, the investors will make their money back off of the initial release and the developer will be on life support from that moment on, unless they somehow manage to grab what Blizzard was able to grab in 2004 .. which we all know is extremely unlikely. Mon Mar 04 2013 10:46AM Report
Boardwalker writes:

"Eve Online does a good job of it, but it pales in comparison to what was the scale of UO."

 

Lol, those glasses you wear must be incredibly rose colored. I played UO, and I play EVE, and in no way does UO make EVE seem pale in comparison.

Mon Mar 04 2013 10:56AM Report
achesoma writes:

Sandbox features are probably the best solution to elder game woes imo.  Though I don't believe a pure sandbox game is the answer either.  It just needs some robust features besides the same old questing, raids, and musical keeps pvp.  I want both.  Hybrid sandparks and themeboxes are hopefully the future of MMOs. 

Mon Mar 04 2013 11:06AM Report
trenshod writes:

Never played eve and to be honest have no desire in trying it. What I do know of that game is that its very very hard on its new players. Sure learning the machanics of a game sure but having to contend with those that have been in the game for years and want to way lay you into oblivion is just stupid.

There is a obvious reason why eve isn't as popular as other games on the market.

Mon Mar 04 2013 11:19AM Report
Holice writes:

Eve Online is a great game, but sadly too many griefers in it, with no real way to combat against them due to the many loopholes around Concord.

While most people on here feel that those that prefer PvE over PvP, or only PvE are "carebears." Sometimes people just want to play for fun without the worry of some assclown coming by to inconvience them.

If a company would make an EVE clone with a PvE high sec safe haven, and also include the low and null sec full pvp like EvE has, I guarantee they would have a higher player base. Hopefully upcoming games like Archeage will revolutionize the interaction between PvE and PvP without compromising on either.

Mon Mar 04 2013 11:19AM Report
Kuldebar writes:

I play GW2, realm pride isn't even on the table in that game, so I take great exception at Bill Murphy for using that as an example of "no one caring about such things" because players haven't had true faction pride since the days of UO, Shadowbane or DAoC.

He is spot on with his acknowledgement of Eve Online. Eve's issue is that it is simply too difficult to jump into due its rather "slow cook" method approach to seeing tangible benfits of playing. It works well for Eve because Eve Online is so huge in scale, but it also makes it very difficult to attract new gamers who want to be meanfully engaged in such world right from the start.

I feel the Camelot Unchained project will have the best elements of Eve Online but be far more and immediately relevant to the player becuase the world setting will be laid out in their face with a "tangible" quality that's hard to reproduce on an intergalactic scale.

 

 

Mon Mar 04 2013 11:22AM Report
Pivotelite writes: Yeah Kuldebar, there was realm pride for the first month...until everyone started server transferring and all the actual GW2 WvW guilds quit due to orb bugs and glitches and the lack of attention Anet gave to WvW. Mon Mar 04 2013 11:31AM Report
sudo writes: Great and true. Mon Mar 04 2013 11:32AM Report
Boardwalker writes:

trenshod: "Never played eve and to be honest have no desire in trying it"

Glad you're still able to offer an opinion on it. lol, I love mmorpg posters. Oh, and what you "know" about EVE is not correct.

 

Holice: you're premises that EVE has "too many griefers" and "concord loopholes" is wrong. There are way way way more non-griefers than griefers in EVE. As for Concord loopholes, when was the last time you played?

Mon Mar 04 2013 11:32AM Report
SpottyGekko writes:

Been saying it for years myself. Blending sandbox and themepark elements is the only way to build a game with more than niche appeal or a fast-food lifespan.

Mon Mar 04 2013 12:00PM Report
Trionicus writes:

He isn't wrong. Just delivering the message a few years late is all.

Mon Mar 04 2013 12:21PM Report
serge512 writes: i only say i play MMOs for Content not pvp or grind. thats why the only mmo so far that have got me is swtor no other mmo does it like that. Mon Mar 04 2013 12:23PM Report
AreWeLive writes:

I think the biggest reason a lot of ppl do not like eve and find it hard is they are the type of person that needs instant gratification, some want to be at end game when they undock, etc. I believe they simply do not understand what a true sandbox game is.

They are not willing to learn a game when the ones they are use to just let them log in and start to hack and slash right away. There is no need to learn anything other then your key set up, WASD and tab. There is very little learning to none needed in todays games.

I really do not see how sandbox games and themeparks will come together simply because they are so different and offer people different things.

 If someone comes up with a way to bring all the types of game play into one game, i am certainly all for it, i just do not see anyone able to do that at this point in time.

 

 

 

 

Mon Mar 04 2013 12:26PM Report
Souldrainer writes:

What we really need a game to come out and do, is to revamp the Neverwinter concept into something more modular.  If you can mix player-created content with a core advancement rate based on the challenges you face.

 

If think Bill is correct to suggest that we need to look at CCP for inspiration, but he picked the wrong game.  IMO, the Mind's Eye Society is the model we should be looking at.  It is one of the most successful Massively Multiplayer games in existence, and almost all of the content is generated by members.  Yet, you can take a character from one chapter to another, and there is continuity.  That is the kind of stuff that the MMO world needs... let the players be the devs, but wrap a layer of continuity around it all. 

Mon Mar 04 2013 12:43PM Report
HealthyGamer writes:

Great video Bill.

I am a former EVE Online and DAOC player and I've finally found my home in the Entropia Universe.  Crafting and economy, apects in recent MMO's that have been HUGELY neglected, are a big part of Entropia Universe and the Real Cash Economy is just the right thing for me.

 

Ultimately it's the players that make an MMO great and developers need to come up with tools that allow for player interaction.  Trying to turn single player ideas into an MMO is klunky and simply doesn't work.

MMO's with a robust well thought out crafting system and economy make for great player communities because it forces players to communicate, cooperate and trade so to achieve individual goals.  Again Eve Online and DAOC are great examples. Thus the logical extension for me was to attempt a Real Cash Economy MMO. EU has been going strong for ten years now and it has a dedicated playerbase.

By the way ALL MMO's have a real cash economy; most simply aren't sanctioned by the MMO owners, yet they do exist.  This would make a good topic for a future Rant. 

Mon Mar 04 2013 12:51PM Report
Mighty_Platypus writes: I'm not going to lie, I tried Eve around 5 years ago, couldn't stomach it. You really didn't feel like you were striving for anything, especially without a corp or friends to play with. I reactivated my Eve account almost 2 weeks ago, and I must say, either me or the game has matured a lot. I was extrememly bored with GW2, WoW, Rift, and Tera. The combat kept me around Tera a little longer, but in all honesty I needed something new. Eve hit the spot for me, and now that I am getting comfortable with the game, I am seeing so much to do, and noone telling me what I need to do, and it is nice. Mon Mar 04 2013 1:14PM Report
Distopia writes:

Why the sudden change of heart is what i'd like to know? Bill has been a pretty big supporter of many of the games that released over the last year and half or so. Most (if not all) of which were "themepark" content driven games. Why weren't you saying this while those games were in development?

I appreciate the message of this rant, but I'm not quite sure it's genuine.

Mon Mar 04 2013 1:48PM Report
mythran7 writes:

 

 

The answer is simpler than it may appear...

 

 The problem with MMO design is that modern venture capitalism is full of conservative investors not willing to take risks for the "next big thing". It is the problem in all creative industries. One artist makes something work and makes tons on it (WoW), then these corporations come in and copy it TO DEATH. It really is amazing we have any sort of new material in anything at all (music for example) since this is how money and art seem to work together.

 

All it will take is the right idea combined with the right investor. The problem is that video game design is incestuous. They always hire guys that are in the industry already to make their games, and just like in music, it all ends up sounding the same. Auto tune: check. 4on the floor: check. Porn star singer: check.

 

At least in music you have talent scouts looking for the next big thing and they can get lucky for no reason. MMO design? Same people recycled for the most part. So it's no wonder its all the same ideas.   

 

What I suggest is a Talent search for the best MMO design. Vetted of course by investors. The only thing is these Judges need to be really open minded but still able to think business.  Let people unknown to the industry in to make games that transcends current norms and "that's just the way things have to be done" mentality. You need creative types, and sometimes creative types or not like technical types that rule most industries. They are creative, they don't necessarily follow the rules.  Hell you could make it into a TV show!

 

Mon Mar 04 2013 2:03PM Report
Jasonos writes: Pre CU SWG is all i have to say... it was best game ever... in these days it would be polished in every aspect i think... Mon Mar 04 2013 2:14PM Report
Attend4455 writes:

I don't see anything contentious in the article, seems to be stating the obvious IMO.

I've been playing EvE for the last 5 years although I've had a few breaks playing themepark MMOs during that time.

One thing I would like to point out as a programmer is that, while I agree that PvE content is time-consuming to make, it's entirely possible to generate PvE content through scripting, although the downside of that is that it needs to be reasonably sophisticated to avoid it being too obvious / non-immersive.

Mon Mar 04 2013 2:17PM Report
Dragnog writes:

Player produced content seems like a good way forward for the MMO industry because it allows a significant reduction in development cost.

I would think that the next logical step from there would be while players are playing content is being created by their actions. 

I don't think the hardware requirements for this are available today but I don't think it is too far away. 

Mon Mar 04 2013 2:25PM Report
azzamasin writes:

I'll admit I've never played Eve and I do not know what sort of content the game has besides mining or PvP.  Neither of those interest me at all.  Maybe I am in the minority but I prfer content over any other substance.

 

The majority of sandbox elements are not at all conducisve to good gaming, they are designed to keep the player grinding away doing menial chore like activities. 

Mon Mar 04 2013 2:28PM Report
waynejr2 writes:

Bill, this is what you are suggesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEGW-vXXDxA&list=FL7-VTR2XsryyBkKP56y6FTQ

But really, you are just ranting.  You are talking about serious issues nor are you offering suggestions for each issue along with how a given solution will affect player numbers for a game.  Rants are not great.

Now a fair question to you.  Do you see these games as mmos or rpgs?  I hear you say mmos but not rpgs.  A signature of successful rpgs is progression.  mmos might not need progression but rpgs do.  IF you study the history of pen and paper rpgs, you will see a difference between games that have progression and those that don't.

MA ruined city of heroes for me.  It killed the game world as far as grouping went.  The foreseeable problem of MA rewards and farming should have been thought out.  It something people talked about all the way back in MUDS in the 80s in some games where the top player(s) in the game would be given creation rights by the admin.  The obvious solution is to not give rewards for player created content.  Which leads to the problem of "why should a player play this player made content?".  It's a progression issue.   Lack of progression is a bigger issue.

Now some will say add pvp as it offers infinite variation.   I don't see it that way but some do. 

Mon Mar 04 2013 3:18PM Report
BillMurphy writes:

@Distopia: In the video, and in numerous other places, I freely admit to enjoying themeparks. But that doesn't mean I can't wish for something more, as I have been lately. And let's face it, some themeparks are great experiences... for a time. But they're not lasting experiences, more often than not.  That doesn't mean one can't appreciate both forms, even while preferring or wishing for the resurgence of another.

If you really love beef, but you live in a world where there's mostly chicken... you tend to learn to like chicken while wishing for prime rib.

I appreciate a game that can give me a solid few months of enjoyment.  Hell that's more than most any offline game does. But sooner or later in a traditional themepark, you will hit a wall, and you will either have to claw away at it or go back to start and try again.  Even at a casual pace, you'll run out of content.

In my eyes, as others have said, a blend of the two game types is probably our best bet at a wide-appeal MMO happening again. I have no grounds to base this on, but Wildstar seems to be doing a good bit of both.  I hope it succeeds.

Mon Mar 04 2013 3:20PM Report
NobleNerd writes: Short sweet and full of BITE, great vid Bill. This time I could feel the fire in your words and I myself agree with a need to see something different in my MMOs. GW2 gave a wakeup call that it could be done even slightly different, but I hope that there will be more of this fall out with the old school way and see something fressh emerge in the MMO world. I am having too much of the "Been there done that" blues.... guess that is why Skyrim gets more of my love than my MMOs lately. Mon Mar 04 2013 4:41PM Report
Lonzo writes: your words in DEVS ears! Mon Mar 04 2013 4:48PM Report
Gravarg writes:

I play WoW and Rift.  I have been playing them both since they launched.  The reason I've stuck around so long is that there isn't any games like what I grew up on.  I miss UO (although in today's community having full loot pvp is undoable).  I miss Ashen Empires, but hardly anyone ever plays it, maybe 150-200 people on during peak.

 

A game like Eve would be great, if only it was an actual game.  I'm so going to get flamed for this, but it's like a facebook game...really.  It's all menu based and you really aren't in control of anything.  You click on your target, select orbit at weapons range and pew pew pew it until dead...I need a bit more than that.  Maybe if you could control and fight in your ship like the old Starlancer games.  Where you actually have to aim to hit, or at least press a button for a shot.

 

I personally prefer content-based MMOs.  I'm a sucker for Lore and Story.  Which is why I've stuck with WoW and Rift for so long.  They're the two MMOs with the most lore behind them.  I've never been a bif fan of PvP, so I don't miss it much (my 8+ year old druid has like 18 honorable kills lol).  I wish there was more to crafting in these games, I can live with how it is.  In older games I was almost strictly a crafter.  I used to be the Guild Carpenter in AE, even built half of the guild house (the other half was built by blacksmiths, booo lol).

Mon Mar 04 2013 5:00PM Report
Boardwalker writes:

azzamasin, you wrote "I'll admit I've never played Eve and I do not know what sort of content the game has besides mining or PvP."

 

You don't know anything about EVE, yet you post about it. Score!--welcome to the growing club of ignorant posters. And EVE has much much more than just "mining and PVP". Start here for more information: http://swiftandbitter.com/eve/wtd/

 

 
Mon Mar 04 2013 5:10PM Report
Ravensworth writes:

Knowing he won't read this but typing it anyway.

The people largely to blame for games dying or genres being destroyed are people in the gaming media. They OVERHYPE a game before release so people will read their blogs and they can get paid. After overhyping it they then report on what a HUGE disappointment the game was.

Here Murphy is already Hyping Neverwinters character based content creation as a new answer without having seen it. It didn't save City of Heroes why should it save any other game.

Murphy, like others, continues to announce the death knell of theme park MMO's and ignoring the elephant in the room. I am NOT a WOW fan. I don't play it. However it still has a subscriber base larger than ALL other MMO's combined. It isn't because what they do doesn't work anymore. It's because that is what their MILLIONS of fans want.  

What the gaming media are really saying is, nothing is replacing WOW in the the hearts of it's fans. Yes they have lost Market share and not surprisingly as some great alternate solutions are out there. BUT the Majority of Gamers still play in Blizzards theme park. Blizzard is the Disney of Theme park MMO's it's challengers are like so many Six Flags parks, taking part of the revenue but not being able to dethrone the megapark.  

The gaming media, especially the staff here at MMORPG need to take a step back and look at the facts of what they are writing about. Look at your own game rankings. Games not yet published are ranked, for the most part, higher than esablished titles. THAT is in your lap Mr. Murphy.

I would love to see you actually respond as I would like to hear your reaction.

*Grabs Popcorn and Waits*

Mon Mar 04 2013 5:20PM Report
garretth writes:

I continue to look for immersion in my mmo's.

It's the little things.

Like 'sitting' around a table, in game, with your guildies to discuss future raids.

Like the feeling there is actual gravity when you run in game.

Like listening the the gruff, hands-on-the-knees laugh of a dwarf.

Like raising a mount from an egg.

Like entering buildings that aren't empty and have personality.

Like decent animations that don't feel awkward and make you twitch.

Like customizing your gear so you can have the 'look' you want.

On my wish list:

A personal home instance that is based on your achievements that is more than just scenery.  This is my personal sandbox. 

In other words you start with a scrap of land...have to learn how to build a fire...etc.

Eventually, you have opportunities to build along-side others to create towns.

If you want to visit me you might have to kill a few monsters first or slip through a few traps and that's just this week.

Home instances should be more than a place for our stuff...it should also be our 'dungeon' to change at our whimsy...it would be neverending...and mulitply that by the player-base you would have unlimited dungeons to explore.

warning: of course there will be unicorns and butterflys.

*whisper*  just watch out for the man-eating plants.

 

Mon Mar 04 2013 5:51PM Report
Alverant writes:

PvP is nothing more than a gank-fest of immature children who get their jollies by stomping on players who don't spend hours squeezing out every tenth of a percent bonus out of their characters. A FFAPVP like EvE aren't for casual players who just want to enjoy a world away from the mundane. Any players who try that get sniped by a future college drop out who got bored.

A content based game sets up a world where you can work with other players as you progress through a story or, if you choose, go it alone and have other players around as company. Yes, a story has a beginning middle and end. The problem comes with people who see that as an issue.

Mon Mar 04 2013 7:54PM Report
purewitz writes: I kind agree, but I think we will always need developer scripted stories to get us to the leave cap. I like the idea of Cryptic's Foundry, but I thin you should be able to create for it or play it til the level cap. Go from level 1 to the max level should be about learning how to play the game, learning about the game world, and your character's hero's journey. I don't mind player created content or side quest content without voice overs, but my main line personal story should always come with a cinematic voice over in the modern age of MMOs. Amongst all of tthe hings EA/Bioware did wrong with Star Wars: The Old Republic. I personally think that the voice over acting and the cinematic natural of the personal class storys is what they ultimately did right and other games in the future should follow in suit with what was started in SWTOR. Well that just my 2 cents. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:08PM Report
aleos writes: i almost cried like a little bitch. Mon Mar 04 2013 8:12PM Report
JimmyYO writes:

Devs need to learn from all these games in my opinion:

From WoW-it's smooth gameplay and amazing response time

From Classic EQ1-it's immersive world, strong community

From UO-it's variety

From DAoC-how to handle RvR

From Eve-it's player driven world

From Vanguard-endless examples of what not to do

 

Mon Mar 04 2013 8:59PM Report
Celusios writes: Good video man! I agree completely. So many titles waste our times trying to find replicate what WoW had. The success of WoW in my opinion was partially due to it's era. Now that players know what modern technology is capable of... they expect better. Mon Mar 04 2013 11:19PM Report
kedara writes: The sandbox solution is a band-aid. What we really need is neosporin. Tue Mar 05 2013 1:03AM Report
haplo602 writes:

I don't know Bill. I think EVE's not the answer. It's developer dedication. Once they start developing games again instead of revenue streams, we are back to what we'd like to have.

Tue Mar 05 2013 1:46AM Report
Icewhite writes:

Yay! EvE will save us!

/stampede

Yay! EQ ^ 3 will save us!

/stampede

Yay! Bastard stepchild of DAoC's second cousin will save us!

/stampede

The joy of Marketing Despair; seeking salvation, the herd follows the next bullet point into the sunset.

Tue Mar 05 2013 2:46AM Report
trash656 writes:

Bill is 100% Correct.

Although, From reading some of these comments from Posters who are avid lovers of Sandbox, it seems they are also content playing the WoW formula for the next 10 years, while at the same time these same posters, sit on their duff, and complain on this site constantly about how they are sick of WoW themed MMO's.

Some of you posters on here are serious Hypocrites.

Tue Mar 05 2013 2:49AM Report
marksteele writes: Oi bill, topiaonline.com, looks like exacly what your talking about Tue Mar 05 2013 4:56AM Report
hfztt writes:

To be honest I think EvE's magic is just as hard to replicate as WoW's.

We just havent figured that out yet be course too few have tried. But look at something like Perpetuum, which is doing exactly what you are advicing. They havent exactly cought on fire now, have they?

I thik we will see a lot of crowdfunded sandboxes come and go over the next few years, and in the end we will probably end up figuring out that EVE's succes is just as hard to copy as WoW's.

Tue Mar 05 2013 5:08AM Report
emperorwings writes: I never played EvE online before. Tue Mar 05 2013 6:41AM Report
tintilinic writes:

@hfztt

There hasnt been AAA MMO made on concepts of EvE. You cannot really compare indie games that usually look more like late alpha when they release to AAA devlopment time/money

OTOH there sure wasnt lack of failed themepark MMOs that for most part just cloned WoW. Just look at latest one SWTOR. I think Kingdoms of Amalur MMO was first victim of SWTORs results and i havent really heard of any new AAA themepak MMO ventures. Even those which are long time in production are trying to change bits and pieces to somehow get away even a bit.

Tue Mar 05 2013 7:07AM Report
tintilinic writes: of course the answer is not to clone EvE, make it more "falshy" and market (hype) it to hell ;P Tue Mar 05 2013 7:09AM Report
pwain writes: well done Bill Tue Mar 05 2013 8:11AM Report
sketocafe writes:

I'd like to see developers clone CCP rather than EvE. They started small, got a core fanbase, shovelled all their money back into the game and have been slowly expanding their product with free expansions over the last 10 years. I prefer this approach to the current trend of throwing $70 million darts at the wall to see what sticks. I certainly prefer the resulting product at least.

As far as straight EvE close go, while I wouldn't mind playing a WASD movement game where your choices matter because you can lose everything you have on you, fuelling a strong crafting base and vibrant player economy, theres a reason I never touched Perpetuum Online. It was a direct port of eve from ships in space to robots on the ground, why bother with the contender when you've already got access to the champion?

Tue Mar 05 2013 8:21AM Report
Sagorn writes:

While I don't think that content is king, I do believe it still has an important role in an MMO. I like to play a sandbox, or even a sandpark, but for *most* players today, they need at least some sort of guidance as to where to go and what to do. What developers need to do, is basically make better games. It's that simple. Stop breaking things that worked before, removing things that worked before, and keeping things that didn't work.

 

Yes, it takes months to develop content that users eat in a few days, so here's an idea... Make a game that gives you things to do while you make new content, and takes more than 2 days to complete. Or a week.. or 2 weeks.. or 2 months. In some cases the problem is the developers, but I also think a large part of the problem is the players. You see lots of threads talking about the "old days" of UO or EQ where openPvP made the game "harder" or gaining levels took months, not hours. I have to admit, I remember being a level 15 in EQ and saw a couple of level 35's come by and smoke the gryphon that had been killing me over and over and I was in awe. Those days are gone. Max level is no longer any sort of achievement and that to me is what is wrong with MMO's these days.

 

Yes, players want it all, and they want it now, and not to blame Blizzard and WoW, but they sort of set a trend where this is what the masses want. People don't want to wait months to hit max level, or perhaps as a casual.. years. People don't want to take months maxing out a crafting skill, so the crafted items in most games suck, because the effort required to make them doesn't allow them to be better. As much as I loved EQ and wish once again there was an MMO that rewarded skill and time spent playing, would I be able to go back to that after playing so many games where I can achieve so much in so little time?

 

--Sagorn

Tue Mar 05 2013 10:34AM Report
Sagorn writes:

I got so carried away, I forgot to comment on all the EVE talk...

 

I played EVE several years ago during my walkabout on the first or maybe second time I tried to get away from WoW. I think it had a lot of interesting things that worked well. What made me leave was reading the forums and realizing how many asshats played the game. Defend it all you want, there are more sociopaths in that game than anything else out there, and I have tried a lot. This is NOT meant to be offensive to any *normal* EVE players, but man there are a LOT of griefers in EVE.

 

Of course there was also the fiasco where the developers were provding really rare blueprints to the guild they were in (cheating) and the guy who got banned for a month or 2 for being a total douche and then his entire following.. I mean Corp. threatened to "burn Jita". Come on guys.. it's a GAME. THEN there was the case where the one corp planted a spy in the other corp to destroy them. Supposedly there was real world email hacking, and other things OUTSIDE the game that led to this massive coup where they basically worked from withing the other corp, making friends etc... until the day they attacked and wiped out the other guild. I take my games pretty seriously too, but that is way way overboard for me. After reading the story about that and the outright crazy forum posts about it, and other EVE drama I knew it was not the game for me. What makes it even worse, is that the developers seem to encourage this sort of behaviour, so I guess they know what sort of players they are looking for.

 

I am not an EVE hater, but if you plan on starting this game, do your research, Maybe it is better now.. this was a few years ago so if I am off base, please take that into consideration.

 

--Sagorn

Tue Mar 05 2013 10:43AM Report
zellmer writes:

Guild Wars 2

Proving that easy games with no real goal, a very easy max level cap to obtain, and very little content outside of some mindless PvP is BORING AS HELL..

Same for its counterparts..

 

Seriously..

Tue Mar 05 2013 11:30AM Report
Purutzil writes:

The problem I feel is that scripted content is fine, unfortunately they have made it too damn easy. Everyone can do everything as such people get bored of it since they have virtually nothing to achieve or its made achievable easily without much effort later on.

Conent is still King, the problem is its designed for 'everyone' to get a piece of the pie and as such no one is content with the pie. As much as casuals cry that 'this is just for the hardcore' its those same people who find more enjoyment out of being able to work towards that pie that more 'hardcore' players work hard to get through. It gives a sense of accomplishment and makes the content more enjoyable in accomplishing something.

It should be done through difficulty more so then grind. While grind should exist in some part, it should make the user feel as if its the difficulty that is holding them back and make them strive to do better. 

Tue Mar 05 2013 11:31AM Report
Boardwalker writes:

Sagorn: you're off base. I've played EVE for over 6 years now, and it is easily the best, and most mature community out there. Granted, in the context of gamers and MMOs, that's not saying much, but I've encountered way more griefers and asshats in other games.

Sure, players can be passionate about the games they play, and EVE is no exception. So if you don't like emergent, player-driven gamplay, such as the "burn JITA" event (which had a profound effect on CCP), then EVE might still not be the game for you.

Tue Mar 05 2013 11:45AM Report
Sagorn writes:

Boardwalker:

 

When another player, or group of players can completely ruin my gaming experience for whatever reason they choose... you are correct, that is not the game for me.

 

I like the idea of "player driven content", but there has to be a limit. I never said the community was mature, or immature, but when you have groups of players that camp gates to demolish anyone who comes through, just because they CAN is not something I feel most gamers would appreciate. As I said, I liked a lot of things about EVE... but the childishness *I* saw on the forums was more of a deterrent than anything that happened to me in the game.

 

--Sagorn

Tue Mar 05 2013 12:24PM Report
Boardwalker writes:

Sargorn said "but the childishness *I* saw on the forums". And therein is your mistake. Perhaps you haven't been around MMOs very long, but forums are not necessarily representative of a playerbase. That being said, I have no idea what forums you were looking at, but I often find the official EVE forums very helpful.

As for other players ruining a gaming experience, I'll say this: I've played EVE for six years and other players have never "ruin my experience". Sounds like you've been suckered in by the hyperbolic stories about EVE rather than your own experiences in the game.

There are over 7,500 star systems in EVE. Avoiding the "darker" places is EVE is incredibly easy. Just like in other games, you can avoid pvp, events like "burn jita", and other things that you don't like. It's laughably easy, actually. The fact that you don't know that just classifies you right alongside the many posters on this site who comment on games that they no very little about. Hats off to you, and welcome to the masses. 

Tue Mar 05 2013 1:25PM Report
hfztt writes:

Sagon:

1) ONE developer aquired two minor Tech 2 BPO's ingame in 2006 using dubious methods and gave them to BoB Alliance. The act itself had close to zero impact on anything ingame. It did give the Goons a huge moral and PR boost in thier crusade against BoB at the time though, which is why history remembers it.

2) Burn Jita was NOT about a banned player. Mittani fully accepted his removal from the CSM on basis of his actions. Burn Jita was originally about a bug, and when that was fixed before the event, plainly about mayhem.

'k thx bye

Tue Mar 05 2013 1:46PM Report
Matticus75 writes:

For me the best direction is  MMORPGFPS. The tab targeting systems is better to sustain larger number of people with low bandwith but nowadays more and more people are not on a 56k anymore.

The tech is there to develop a seemless world from the surface of a planet to space, intregration of minigames, Themepark elements with fringe areas of sandbox, even throw in well developed RTS interface for open world pvp commanders. That is what should be in my opinion indusrty should be pushing and competing for, A multi genre of game types seemlessly intregrated. But as long as we continue to see low budget F2P games, Im afraid its not going to happen anytime soon.....good points Bill!

Tue Mar 05 2013 9:34PM Report
Scot writes:

Is Bill sounding Jaded? That happens to any of us who don’t game with are heads buried in the sands of hype.

Whatever you do Bill, don’t talk to much about how old games were in some ways better. Or you will get someone on here accusing you of being Nostalgic.

Because that is a themepark apologists only answer, you must be jaded or nostalgic, its never down to the gameplay of a modern easymode MMO.

Wed Mar 06 2013 2:57AM Report
Jschoice writes:

I enjoyed the video and this is the first time I am posting on this site despite being an avid follower.

As an old gamer, I have tried just about everything out there in terms of mmorpgs.  What is clear to me is there are a lot of reasons that draw us to games.  From a personal stand point I never read quests or watch those fancy cut scenes.  For my taste it is a waste of development dollars. 

I enjoy games that are open sandbox that allow players the freedom to do things the way they want.  I would love to see a traditional sword and magic mmorpg learn a bit from the things that Eve online does right.  I am not all that into the genre but that is a solid community and the openess of the game is very cool.

Wed Mar 06 2013 9:48PM Report
Roman291 writes:

This is why I believe ESO is going to be a flop. I believe it's going to be too much like the other themeparked MMORPG's, and why I'm probably not going to buy it.

Thu Mar 07 2013 12:10AM Report
Sykomyke writes:

Yes, Bill who wouldn't love untold amounts of griefers that aren't penalized for ruining other people's gameplay.  Or who wouldn't like to spend months grinding out skill points?  Or who wouldn't love just staring at spreadsheets.  Yes, EVE is by far the 'superior' MMO these days...

 

(Sarcasm for those of you not apt to understand context)

Thu Mar 07 2013 3:42PM Report
VikingGamer writes:

Predictable? possibly. Only saying what others already have? maybe. But that doesn't mean that it is not correct. I have been saying for a while now that the problem with stories is that they end, MMOs need to be worlds that keep going on. You can place stories in that world but you need the world first.

I also think he is spot on with identifying EVE as a possible model to emulate. Not in the way that Perpetuum copied them. Not everyone is into the blood thirsty PvP everywhere model. Not everyone is into spaceships but neither of those are inherently bound to the sandbox elements that make EVE does so well.

Perhaps someday we will have a sandbox mmo that has real depth but without the spaceships.

Fri Mar 08 2013 10:26AM Report
SysFail writes: Completely agree, dev houses should stop trying to clone that peice of shit that was WoW and focus on open ended sandbox games where players are the real content. Sat Mar 09 2013 7:42AM Report
Amphib_Ian writes:

you have to make the exact same argument for EVE that you did for WoW: 1 company's success (or long struggle for success) simply cannot be emulated time and again. Player made content is participant to the solution of the themepark problem, but i feel it wasnt the choice to make EVE a sandbox or WoW a themepark that made either title successful. Blizz had the backing of the entire population of South Korea and China. No one else can say that. Meanwhile EVE did something no other company on the planet has done: listened to the player base.

Riot listens to the community when it makes decisions for LoL and look how successful they are. SWTOR has utterly failed not JUST because they made horrible horrible decisions during development, but rather they have routinely marred their own hopes of recovery by entirely ignoring the community about what changes or fixes needed to be implemented.

Yes, if people are happy they wont say a word. Yes, some of the most vocal people with complaints are also idiots. However, not all of them are, and you can use frank, transparant discussions with the community at large with quality back and forth to get to the meat of the problems (if any) as well as the heart of the players for future content. Until such a time as developers put the people who BUY their product ahead of the shareholders, we will continue to see the decline of MMOs and gaming market in general.

Sat Mar 09 2013 4:07PM Report
Four0Six writes:

I am a capitalist, well that and other things but I digress.

One of my many resonons for being such, is my biew that money runs/rules/directs all human actions. So in my view to not be a capitalist, would be like living in the desert and complaining about the heat.

Now to the gaming point, Bill touched on this but left it too early. Untill Blizzard, and its behomoth WoW, loose money that is what we will get. SImply put...the big money investors don't like to loose money, so they invest in what they see making money.

Why does the model keep making money? It is marketed to "tweens". Those too young to make their own money, and thusly spend it willy nilly. 11, 12, 13, or 14 year olds most often only care about the superficial things, the new epic weapon, that PvP kill, those kind of things. Not "Open worlds", not character developement. So WoW,and its type fill the want very very well, and make tons of cash.

Personally the past couple of years have pushed me away from gaming, well at least computer gaming. I tire of the same old same old. I tire of game companies bending over loyal fans, IE NC and the city shutdown. I very very very much tire of the "level solo until next instance, BG, level cap yadda yadda." It is no wonder to me the the comuntiies in our games suck. They suck in the smae way all crowds fail to produce communities.

I guess, in closing I like to think that maybe some day another game will launch that pulls me in and makes the time diseapear. That is why I keep conming back here. But I also know I have grown and moved on in my own life, and it is very likley I will  never game in that way again.

Sun Mar 10 2013 9:46AM Report
PsiKahn writes: He's quite right that economics is what will ultimately drive change in the MMO sphere, and indeed it has already begun to do so.  The question is whether we will see anythingas audacious as EVE was at launch, or just more play-it-safe clones of the same concept.  A lot of these newer "sandbox" titles amount to little more than integrated player housing and less of an emphasis on classes.  I think we have room for some EVE clones yet, but I'm most interested in games like Trials of Ascension that intend to explore the ample untouched design space of sandbox MMOs.  We've still got plenty to learn about what's possible in these games. Mon Mar 11 2013 12:26PM Report
PsiKahn writes: He's quite right that economics is what will ultimately drive change in the MMO sphere, and indeed it has already begun to do so.  The question is whether we will see anythingas audacious as EVE was at launch, or just more play-it-safe clones of the same concept.  A lot of these newer "sandbox" titles amount to little more than integrated player housing and less of an emphasis on classes.  I think we have room for some EVE clones yet, but I'm most interested in games like Trials of Ascension that intend to explore the ample untouched design space of sandbox MMOs.  We've still got plenty to learn about what's possible in these games. Mon Mar 11 2013 12:56PM Report

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