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A Template for MMORPG PvP

By Tim Eisen on April 24, 2019 | Columns | Comments

A Template for MMORPG PvP

Is Apex Legends a Full Loot PVP MMORPG Template? Maybe but before I get to that I want to pose a bit of a question for the comments below. I just read Apex viewership on Twitch has fallen and Fornite is back on top. This has led various people in the investment world (parasites) to say EA stock is overvalued. I’m not sure how I feel about this statement? How Twitch and the top streamers are “influencing” developers and business and how this all impacts the consumer that isn’t making 40K to whore “promote” a game to millions of our highly impressionable young followers. Feel free to let me know below. Back to Apex Legends!

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When looking deeper into the soul of Apex Legends it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this old school PVPer is feeling at home, it has everything I've always loved at a fast food place. My age and reflexes aren't overly fond of that pace nor the fact that it's yet another FPS with a battle royale gimmick bolted on but I digress.

Apex isn’t just an FPS, it’s a team based full loot fps. Yes, folks, it took shooter developers to find a way to make full loot sustainable! Their work-a-round, endless nearly instant rematches, wouldn't work in an MMORPG but it works here. I'm sure plenty of players still rage quit when they get all suited up in purple gear only to get ganked and lose it all but unlike its MMORPG cousins, you are a few minutes from a new game, with zero penalties for leaving. Not that I’d recommend that, after all, Apex has a resurrection mechanic!

When you lose your health you got into a timed downed state. In this state, any teammate can hold X to revive you but wait there's more! If you get shot too much while downed you die and go into a second timed downed state. In this one your teammate cant easily bring you back, instead they loot your “banner” which looks like a smartphone thingy. Then they have to take you to a respawn beacon, upload your banner and you get drop shipped back into the game, albeit without any loot. If they wait too long you can’t be revived and either spectate until the end or leave (again no penalty, boo) and jump in another game.

Did I mention the classes? You have the healer, the tank, the speed class, the dot class, etc. Remember when we all used to rant about MMO devs being behind the curve jumping on trends rather than innovating on the foundational elements that make MMOs unique? Well, the rest of gaming continues to use our beloved MMOs to evolve themselves while our devs continue to chase the hot gimmick from yesteryear (battle royale?!?!). Sorry MMO devs, your games take too long to ever land a trend. Either hire a seer or become the innovation again. A word of warning, the future, always in motion it is.

If you wanted to claim it has crafting I suppose you could but I wouldn’t. Its a stretch and more like slotting add ons than crafting but as you loot you pick up a variety of buffs and enhancements that you slot to max out your weapons and armor and buff your character a bit as well.

Shockingly the most innovative mechanic in Apex Legends wasn't grifted from an MMORPG, it's their voice command system. In the age of Discord and Xbox live chat (think the inbred version of barrens chat but with half broken mics) Apex found a way to nullify having to talk with our voice the way MMOers of yesteryear dislike!

This sounds minor but the voice has long been a conflict of mine. I like to chat with my pals but I long for the immersion that was strictly in-game communication. The Apex trick is this, nearly every item, object or enemy in this game has a line of voice work recorded for each character. While likely still not quite as effective as a discord room, this voice set-up is highly effective - especially when you are just grouping with random’s like its an “LFM Right Strath Run, have DPS and Tank, need heals” circa 2006.

As you run along at warp speed you are always a click of a single button away from giving information to your teammates audibly and on the map. Using the identifier button gives teammates a blimp on the minimap and the visual field of view. I'm getting information by voice, from a cool sounding voice actor, without the over talking, dog barking, child screaming, (spouse moaning-ok maybe not) and mic breaking issues that plague so many player microphones.

At first, I wasn't sure it would work and now I don't want to play a multiplayer game without it. In fact, I hope every multiplayer game going forward has it! I complain about MMORPG devs aping mechanics but in this case, by all means - go right ahead. STEAL THIS CONCEPT! Please allow me to talk to my groupmates without actually talking to my groupmates again! Nothing brings people together like pointing to a thing and having a cool voice over say what it is.

If any of this is sounding familiar it should because just about every PVP MMO in development is talking about using the Apex model or similar (minus the voice work unfortunately). The trick for the MMORPG is all of what Apex does, slower and with spells instead of bullets. Like Fortnite before it, I’m not saying apex is anything like an MMORPG but it gives me something to cling to until we get a decent one and I never tire of looting purples!

What I am saying is I can see the elements I love being used in ways improved upon and I hope to see MMORPG devs doing the same, just at a speed an old man can handle with tab targeting as well - but no, and I repeat no /stick! That ability is too powerful to come without a great cost and timed cooldown. Until one of these crowd funded illusions take a physical form I’ll be chasing the MMORPG feels one “kinda sorta” game at a time.

Tim Eisen / I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry
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