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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Looking for a "complicated" MMO? Really?

Posted by BadSpock Thursday November 8 2007 at 3:51PM
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I've never quite understood the notion that complicated = fun.

To me, complicated = frustrating.

Say things like:

looking for a "challenging" MMO or a MMO with "depth" instead of "complicated."

But asking for a complicated MMO to me means asking for a MMO that is:

1. tedius
2. not user-friendly / accessable
3. not well designed

To me "complicated" means advanced mathmatics... not fun.

Having depth and being challenging? That's fun.

The challenge and depth should be in the fun and the gameplay, not in the accessibility, user-friendliness, and tedium.

Things people say make a MMO "hardcore" or "complicated" that I personally feel are actually just tedius and made to further your subscription time:

1. Harsh death penalties
2. Longer travel times
3. Slow leveling rates

To me, a challenging game would be easy to learn and difficult to master. But what does that mean?

Crafting that requires a massive investment of time and resources is not more skillful, it's more tedius. Give crafting mini-games! I'm REALLY surprised no one has done this yet. Yes, I've played EQ2 and old SWG, I know what that crafting is like. I hear Vanguard is similar... but seriously, mini-games that require skill make crafting more challenging, don't just add more complication and call it "challenge."

I'd say a crafting system where you had only 1 easy to find ingrediant for EVERYTHING you could craft, but a difficult mini-game system for the actual crafting would be more challenging and "hardcore" then simply piling on the time and resource requirements.

Depth does NOT equal adding more resource / time requirements. To me, depth means radial expansion rather then linear. Don't make crafting a table cost 45,000 units of 10,000 different resources, but give me 10,000 different styles of tables to craft. THAT is depth.

Combat that is multi-layered and dependant upon various triggers and situations, not piling on numbers and adding 10,000 different abilities you couldn't possible manage. Give me stances and states and counters and triggers and procs and timing, not +10,000 spell damage.

Slow travel times? What does that add? It's a time sink, that's about it. Spend less time playing and having fun, more time waiting. It's like driving to an amusement park. Would you say that the further you have to drive to get there the more hardcore the experience is going to be? No, it's the same park. Why not get their faster, have more time for fun instead of wasting your whole day in the car?

High death penalties? This is a touchy issue. I know I personally get pissed off when I die, and I get pissed off having to do long corpse runs, so even if I lose nothing, no experience or items or anything, isn't that death punishment enough for me? Throw in item decay / damage from death and that's enough of a death penalty for me.

In MMORPGs, we are paying for time. To put it simply. Any time we spend not enjoying ourselves, is time we are paying to not enjoy ourselves. That is motivation enough for me to want to really stay alive as much as possible.

Slower leveling rates? Another tricky issue. If you can provide enough content to keep me busy while still slowing doing the rate of progression? Awesome, I'm all for it.

Make the progression slower but don't offer any more content then any other game? Welcome to what we like to call "the grind."

Depth and challenge do NOT equal complication and tedium. There is nothing hardcore about waiting and/or being frustrated.

If anything it shows you have patience. Which, is indeed a virtue.

funkula writes:

Puzzle Pirates is exactly what youre talking about. Crafting is all done through minigames/puzzles. In fact, everything is done with puzzles, right down to ship to ship combat.

Thu Nov 08 2007 3:59PM Report
Romir writes:

Well, as a personal opinion, I don't like WoW. Its too easy and I found it had little if no depth at all. I started, my first MMO, with FFXI, that is what you describe as "hardcore" and/or "complicated".  I loved it. or at least I would have if they had have taken out about 80% of the travel time, and made the combat more interesting, not to mention the graphics, played that for a year. I played EQ2 and thought it was just...not very good. That didn't last long. I then moved to WoW, heard good things about it and...Well I can't say its bad as its so well polished but as I said above it lacks the depth I crave. Then tried RF. Seems OK, well what I can see of it before I disconnect, every 4-5 mins. So Conan or Tabula Rasa....


So, In many respects I do agree with you but I really am not a fan or repeating mini games over and over...

The grind? The eastern world loves it, I don't understand that but they do... If however, like you said, there was content to match your times at these levels then it would be justified.

Thu Nov 08 2007 5:12PM Report
Xix13 writes:

Uh, no.  Crafting should not be dependent on your being able to play tetris in a different shell or solving a riddle.  It should be dependent on materials used, recipes and your character's skill in that craft.  I've seen some of those "mini-games" in the Asian grinders, and I find they break the immersion completely.  Trying to click at just the point when the moving bar is in the red zone, and call that chi training?  bah!

One man's tedium is, of course, another's cathartic relaxation.  I LIKE mining rocks in UO.  I can spend hours mining and smithing.  I loved pre-CU's crafting and all the parameters that made the resource collection itself a challenge.  Tedious, to me, is bashing 500 lich lords to get the uber loot drop.

But as for "complicated"?  OK, what's an example?  I would say that the best example would be EVE.  Yeah, that one's pretty complicated.  Lots of math if you want to really work it out. could just load up the best launchers you can afford, stock 'em with missiles, and fire away.  Maybe it won't do you much good in 0.0 PvP, but for most missions of your level it's fun seeing the rats go boom.

Depth, to me, means having to think a bit and consider possibilities.  Challenge, to me, means having choices to make in what you do and how you build your character.  Tedium, to me, is being led by the nose thru zones, or fighting 100 of the same mob to get to the next level or that uber piece of gear.

In long run, it's what you like to do in the game and how you view your entertainment.  Action or relaxation.

Thu Nov 08 2007 5:23PM Report
bigbard writes:

EVE is the game with extreme depth, dont skip the tutorial!!

Thu Nov 08 2007 5:33PM Report
aircrag writes:

 Well, the crafting game wouldn't be anything like tetris, it should be more something like...crafting! surely the quality of the itens you get for the craft should add some points for your crafting game, of some extra trys or more benefits like get a +2 in case you win the minigame. 

 But just like there are people who enjoy these kind of things, there are people who don't, so why not just make the gamer choose? if you want the mini-game, you may try it, if you don't, then like almost always get the dice and pray.

 About the combats: what I hate the most in MMO is the click and enjoy system(yes, the one how you click on the monster and wait until it or you die). I already played some games like Dofus and Phantasy Star Online who use different battle systems, the first's battle is like those "something tactics" games on videogames and the second one makes you walk and press the atk button to really atk and you will atack right in front of you even if there is nothing there. There are other games that are more like mmoaction and many other types that I never played but a really good MMO with great grafics, great customization, great battle system AND many different thing to be done is really dificult to find.
 Lets just pray that just like its already happening the games keep improving as the time pass.

(Sorry if my english is bad, I'm Brazilian XD)

Thu Nov 08 2007 9:07PM Report
Borilius writes: Well said, exatly my thoughts :) Fri Nov 09 2007 2:33AM Report
Loke666 writes:

I agree on some points, crafting system like EQ2 gets boring quick and long travel time sux, I actually prefer mapping like in GW.

But the combat? I would prefer something more like a playstation or Xbox game with aiming. In most MMOs you just clicks a few skills over and over again. More skills doesnt make it funnier but the combat is in my opinion the weakest point of the MMOs, its like everyone today just cloned old EQ. Personally, Im hoping that AoC will change all this.

What Im sayings isnt exactly that I want a more advanced system though, just something different.

Fri Nov 09 2007 5:16AM Report
grimfall writes:

"3. Slow leveling rates"

Slow levelling rates, doesn't bother me.  Quite often while playing LOTRO, EQ2 or Warcraft I actually found myself thinking I was levelling too fast.  High level raiding can be a real grind eventually.  To me 90% of a game should be expereinced on the way up.

I don't have a problem with long travel times, as long as it's exciting, or at least interesting.  They can be a good time to chat with the guild, etc.

but give me 10,000 different styles of tables to craft. THAT is depth.

Actually, that is breadth, not depth. Depth is taking one group of skills to a deep level.  Breadth is being able to choose from a wide variety.  I would guess based on your article, that you actually want both.

I don't know why they don't have more minigames in crafting.  It's an idea I came up with independently a few years ago, surely  someone these giant development teams have come across the same idea.  Crafting seems to be falling out of favor in this next round of games, though.

<i> I'd say a crafting system where you had only 1 easy to find ingrediant for EVERYTHING you could craft, <i>

I don't have any problems with rare items used in crafting.  Trading and buying rare components is in fact a 'mini-game' if you think about it.

Fri Nov 09 2007 12:50PM Report
Zynn3D writes:

A crafting system I loved was in an RPG, not MMO, called Dark Messiah.  It would be sweet if MMO devs took from that and expanded upon it.  To craft, the player got to actually manipulate the different tools and workstations.  To craft a sword, you actually smelted the ore, poured molten metal into molds, did some pounding with a hammer, dropped the blade into water, attached a hilt, etc.  You should check it out if you haven't.

Mon Nov 26 2007 8:54PM Report writes:
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