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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

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

Author: BadSpock

Is a Hybrid MMO possible?

Posted by BadSpock Thursday December 13 2007 at 2:52PM
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Is it possible to create a MMO that is a pure hybird?

Both sandbox and linear?

Both PvE and PvP represented fully?

Both class/level based and skill based?

With both player skill and gear/equipment held equal?

If it is possible, would we want it?

I have asked myself these questions a lot lately. Before, when I was creating my "Perfect MMO" blog entries, I attempted to further devuldge my theories on these questions and their answers, but I must admit, I was very long winded.

Writing a novel in each blog entry is not a way to keep people viewing, many only skim anyway.

I know it is possible. I'd like to think I came up with some very good ideas on how to do this, but that's not the point of this blog.

I'm trying to keep it short, but it seems that many on this site are split between two opposite viewpoints.

A MMOG has to be PvP focused or it's a PvE "grind" game. A MMOG has to be purely skill based or it's "the same level/class crap." A game has to have "twitch" combat where player skill matters or it's the same old "grind for gear" game play and unbalanced classes...

Is it indeed possible to have a perfect mixture of the two opposing viewpoints? If it is, would we want that? Would we play it?

Everyone has their own opinions and theories and ideas, but just imagine for a second a MMOG that was split perfectly down the middle between the two opposite viewpoints.

What would it be like?

Please leave thoughts in the form of comments. I'd like to see where the community defines the "middle ground" because we've all heard (without end) the pros and cons of the opposing viewpoints numerous times before...

Flungmuk writes:

I'd like to see it. It would be a fairly large venture, but in the end, I think worth it.

Bigest issue I can for see, and its probably not what people are thninking either...IMO its going to be "you cant please everyone all the time" Working around that, imo will be the biggest challange.

Thu Dec 13 2007 3:10PM Report
t0nyd writes:

1. Well sandbox and linear seem to be complete opposites.

2. I believe PvP can co-exist with PvP just fine. The problem is that if someone wants the game to be entirely PvE, well then...

3. Class based and skill based can co-exist fine. I look upon guildwars as a class/skill based system. Also oblivion could be viewed as both.

4. Gear and skill could be balanced. Id prefer skill to trump all tho..:) Mainly problems arise from PvPers not being able to get as good of gear as the PvEers have.

I would be fine with a sandbox type of world, thats class and skill combo, with PvP and PvE quests, where gear is gained through PvP and PvE. Id love to attack cities that have mob defense alone with players in there.



Thu Dec 13 2007 3:17PM Report
Flungmuk writes:

I think to do sandbox and linear just requires a little thinking outside the box, wont be easy I dont think. But then,as the saying goes...

Nothing worth having is ever easy. (or something like that).

Thu Dec 13 2007 3:31PM Report
ElRenmazuo writes:

Sounds like thats what would happen if Mass Effect was turned into an mmo.

Thu Dec 13 2007 5:51PM Report
JB47394 writes:

Is it possible?  Yes.  Would many people want to spent any time with it?  I wouldn't think so.  That, or the game would so separate the various kinds of systems that the players just won't interact.  Then it's not clear that it's one game anymore.

This is why I wrote my "When Flocks Collide" article.  Instead of trying to mash everything into one game, create many.  We don't need a game that is Chess and Checkers and Cards and Monopoly.  Pick an experience that a player is looking for and build that experience.  That's what single player games do.  Multiple player games rely on linearity and repeatability to give consistent entertainment.  When that consistency goes, so do most of the players.  People's tolerance for effort when seeking entertainment is low.  As it should be.

Thu Dec 13 2007 6:14PM Report
soulwynd writes:

Your perfect isn't my perfect. The cake is a lie.

Fri Dec 14 2007 5:48AM Report
Reborn17 writes:

Yes it is possible and yes people would play it assuming its production lvl is high enough and its well thought out enough. I was also going to reference JB's "When Flocks Collide" post in that in this hybrid mmo its not important whether the different playstyles interact because each style is an engine to push the game's arc forward, so there is no sense of someone playing the game the wrong way as a style, only perhaps playing a style in the wrong venue i.e. don't go picking poseys in the middle of a battlefield.

Fri Dec 14 2007 6:57AM Report
Kenny3000 writes:

possibly a sandbox world but ability to play through "campaings" lets say you can grind and quest or you can enter an instince that plays like a campaing ie. has story last 7-8 hours gives exp and loot, and there would be losts of them, so basicly people could level or increase skills at there own leasure and style.

Fri Dec 14 2007 8:05AM Report
Kenny3000 writes:

sorry english is bad its just an odd language

Fri Dec 14 2007 8:06AM Report
BadSpock writes:

it is indeeed a very odd language kenny. Honestly, many people who learn English as a second language write better then us silly Americans who only know English.. funny how that works...

Thanks for the good comments. I agree JB that trying to appeal to everyone has it's drawbacks, no one is ever going to please absolutely everyone. If you divide your game into too many facets, will there be enough players in a single facet to make that play style as viable as the others?

Fri Dec 14 2007 9:48AM Report
rabbidfly writes:

The nexus will occur when PvE is so realistic, it'll feel like PvP. :) Technology will answer these questions in time.

Fri Dec 14 2007 10:01AM Report
BadSpock writes:

very interesting statemet rabbidfly...

who knows what the future may bring? you may indeed be correct.

haha, imagine a game where you didn't know who was a player and who was a NPC, the AI was THAT good, and the UI made no distinction...

Fri Dec 14 2007 10:10AM Report
rabbidfly writes:

I may actually blog on this topic as well, but i honestly believe that as gaming increases in complexity to mimic RL, more specialization wil occur within the MMO gaming genre itself. Just like there are martial arts schools, yoga classes, meditation seminars, and environment rallies in RL, there will be a specific game for each personality profile. I predict that MMO will explode into a bushel of child genres. MMO reflects a single game type, and i believe that the archetype of MMO is exactly what you are discussing - the perfect hybrid. But just as MMO will be insufficient to describe the richness of the genre in the future, i also believe that 'the perfect hybrid' will be too generic to capture anyone's interest. imho.

Fri Dec 14 2007 10:23AM Report
Flungmuk writes:

It brings to mind Pdnd. A campaign world setting. You can grind away on random encounter mobs.  Do the single kill mob X quests for the quick, I only have an hour to play. Some of the larger modules could be adapted to be either instances or progresive quests. Some the 3-4 hour run through, others the 2 or 3 day quest line that you can pick up and leave as you get to it.

I'm just remembering back to my pnp days, some modules would take ages to finish.

I think if you could have all the diferent facets and make that game engine work..that would be the hard part I think, it would have the back bone to be a good game, just needing good content to keep it going.

Fri Dec 14 2007 10:28AM Report
daylight01 writes:

Maybe you should check out TCOS that is all hybrid classes,PvE and PVP,I dont know how much of a sandbox it will be but it does sound promising and ticks alot of the boxes to the questions you ask,Tbh when I read the title to your blog I thought it was about TCOS.

Fri Dec 14 2007 11:12AM Report
BadSpock writes:

I am very interested in TcoS and have been a part of their forums and beta applicant for some time now, they really seem to have their head on straight and have a lot of very fresh ideas...

Unfortunately, without a confirmed U.S. publisher, I don't know if I'll ever be given the opportunity to find out..

Fri Dec 14 2007 11:20AM Report
daylight01 writes:

Yeah still without a publisher for the states but I really hope for you guys that will change at the start of next yearThere does seem to be alot on the offical forums crying out for a USA release so I hope they can get something worked out for you :)

Fri Dec 14 2007 11:30AM Report
Hexxeity writes:

Sandbox and linear are not opposites.  It is possible to create a sandbox world with a variety of linear quests to choose from (or ignore).  Everquest is now such a world, but no one ever plays it.

DAoC has pretty good PvE and pretty good PvP.  So yes, both can be represented.  (The people behind Aion have promised this as well.)

Class-based and skill-based are not opposites.  I won't drone on about it as I have before, but yes, a hybrid of the two is possible.

Player skill vs. gear?  No, this is not possible.  If either of those is a substitute for the other, then you have a gear-based game.   This is a much bigger question than space allows, so I'll leave it at that.

So, yes.  Most of your so-called "opposites" can indeed be reconciled, so theoretically there could be one game that encompasses everything you want -- except you really do have to decide how big a role gear is to play.  There's just no way around that one.

Fri Dec 14 2007 11:59AM Report
daylight01 writes:

well not really hexx with TCOS they are trying to get around the gear thing so it is just for looks but I think I am right in saying with your weapons you can add things to the weapon to make it more powerful and a unique weapon but still need the skill to use it hit/miss,So where as your clothing doesnt have specs your weapon will.

Fri Dec 14 2007 12:09PM Report
Hexxeity writes:

I think TCOS falls in the non-gear-based camp.  Obviously we don't know how things will turn out, but I get the impression that even the best weapon upgrade isn't going to make an imcompetent player seem competent.  So in that case, gear and player skill are not on equal footing.

Fri Dec 14 2007 1:26PM Report
daylight01 writes:

I do agree with you there it wont make a bad player a good player but it may make the difference from a decent player to a good 1,Though like you have said we wont really know till we get hands on I just mentioned it as it does seem to be the game that is trying to go from the gear-skill,Though that is very difficult challenge and to keep the game fun for just not the better players but also the casual new players is a thin line to tread.

Fri Dec 14 2007 1:37PM Report
BadSpock writes:

My understanding w/ TcoS is that your gear will always be fully customizable in terms of both look and appearance. The more you level, the more "slots" you get for upgrades on your gear, but the slots themselves aren't filled with Runes of different quality but instead it's just that more = better and you have to choose what to put in them. That way, players around the same level will always be at somewhat equal footing, just able to specialize their gear for their class/play style.

At the same time, there are additional slots for things like rings, necklaces, and other jewelry that WILL be of varying quality. Like you can get a Stat+1 ring from an "easier" dunegon but get a Stat+3 ring from a more challenging raid.

I think it's brilliant because it rewards the achievers without making them too overpowered. Their combat system is unique enough, we'll just have to wait and see how good it really is...

Hopefully, hopefully they get a U.S. publisher soon, but with AoC and WAR on the horizon, which both look to be huge in the U.S., it's questionable if a publisher will want to invest in such a highly competitive market...

but I do have hope

Fri Dec 14 2007 2:04PM Report
grimfall writes:

I've seen you mention this 'gear vs twitch' thing before, and because you're repeating it le tme correct it for you.

In Everquest or WoW there are good players and bad players, even if they have the same gear. Everyone who has played one of these games has been with a 'bad healer' or 'bad puller', which has nothing to do with their gear.

When you think about MMO combat, it is quite often like a strategy game.  You have to make decisions and carry them out.  Saying that a game only involves player skill if it has 'twitch' elements is tatamount to saying speed chess players have skill and untimed ones don't.

Fri Dec 14 2007 3:03PM Report
daylight01 writes:

No what people are saying here is you dont have to be a good player to do well in WoW etc,I was a holy priest in wow and I seen alot of bad healers but because they had nice gear they thought they were really good as they had the gear,I could go into it more but I hope you will trust that the fact they had gear didnt matter so much that the group needed a healer that night and thats why they got the item.

Fri Dec 14 2007 3:16PM Report
grimfall writes:

OK, WoW is probably not a good example as it is pretty simple.  But if you take two people, same class and same gear  in WoW and let them PvP one is probably going to win more often than the other. 

There are good PVE players and bad ones. Although good gear does make a game a little more forgiving, or quicker to level in, it doesn't eliminate player intelligence and skill.  Some guilds undoubtedly took down the Burning Legion raid bosses quicker than others who had the same gear.  The reason?  They recruit  better players and train their players better.

Fri Dec 14 2007 4:15PM Report
BadSpock writes:

grimfall - agree 100%

as a Tank, I know the difference between "good" dps, healers, crowd control etc. and bad ones.

Some of the worst were those with some amazing gear. Maybe they got lazy? I dunno.

By you are right, the skill is more in the strategy and coordination, much more like a RTS then the "twitch" skills of a FPS

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