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Ramblings of a Mastermind

This blog was created for the sole purpose of discussing the current state of MMORPG's, game mechanics, combat systems, failures, and the future of the genre.

Author: Nineven

Exterminating The End Game

Posted by Nineven Saturday June 7 2008 at 10:56PM
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The definition of "end game" refers to the final stages of a game where there is nothing, or almost nothing left to accomplish. You have done all there is to do, the only option you have left is to start over and play the game again, from the beginning. Which leads us to replayability; the two almost go hand-in-hand.

 

In order to keep your MMORPG alive, and to continue bringing in cash flow, the idea of exterminating the end game must be top priority. Some people may say this is impossible, and in a sense, it is. People will get bored playing and eventually move on, there is no way around this. The farther you put the end game from your players, the more money you're going to make. This does not mean making your players grind level, after level, after level, continuously. The game needs to be fun, otherwise people will leave, (obviously); and no one likes a level grind, or any grind for that matter.

So how can this be done you ask? It is simple really. As I always say, an MMORPG should be treated as a living, breathing, virtual world. No one should ever be the same, and their designs should differ GREATLY. But as the world would have it, money is power, and everyone wants it. They will do the least amount of work required to get it, which means sacrificing their artistic and creative talents just to make a buck. Sad, but nothing can be done about this. I'm getting off subject here, but you know what I mean.

Getting back to the end game discussion... Making your world realistically fun, should be your goal. Realism is a large part of a virtual world; just remember that too much can make a game boring, (this is why I call it "realistic fun"). This could be described as destructible environments, advanced crafting, or finely tweaked combat skills. The more options and freedom you give your players, the more fun they are going to have. Ever played a game and said to yourself, "wouldn't it be cool if you could do this...". That's what I'm talking about. All of these things place your end game farther away from the players by replacing it with enjoyable gameplay. The player is too busy having fun playing the game to even worry about getting to the end. And that's what its about, the journey to the end, not getting there as fast as you can. There's more truth to that statement than you realize.

And there you have it, a very simple way to help you get rid of your end game; or at least put it farther away from the players without sacrificing the fun factor of your game. Which might I add is VERY important. Always remember, as you move your end game further away from the player, you are going to have to compensate with enjoyable gameplay.

How An MMORPG Can Never Be Defined

Posted by Nineven Friday June 6 2008 at 11:23AM
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What do you think about when you hear "MMORPG"? Most people will think back to the first MMORPG they ever played, and relate that experience to every one they play afterward. This sets one up for disappointment. Why? Because that first MMORPG experience would be the best you ever had more than likely; I know it was for me. But I was also lucky to have played one of the best developed MMORPG's that ever existed.

As developers learn more about MMORPG's, they seem to be learning less. Before you even walk into the development door of an MMORPG, you need to know one thing: The MMORPG you are about to make hasn't been defined yet. You're starting a new game with a completely blank slate. And it's not just one "game", it's many games rolled into one (the current state of the MMORPG industry would disagree with me here). It is the ultimate game for the gamer, as well as the developer.

One thing that has always been true about RPG's in general, is that they were all completely different in their design. They had their own mini-games and level advancement. Seeing a clone of an RPG was almost unheard of. And now here we are, the MMORPG genre completely fucking saturated with clones. Clones of MMORPG's both old and new. Let me make one thing very, very clear here: JUST BECAUSE YOU GIVE YOUR GAME A DIFFERENT NAME, OR USE A DIFFERENT FRANCHISE DOESN'T MEAN IT'S DIFFERENT.

Stop making the same game.

Stop making the same game; I said it twice so you newbie developers will listen.

So I was a little angry there, who isn't? I can get around to the firestorm later... When I talk about MMORPG's having no definition, I mean what I say. They simply cannot, they need to be made different, their stories, their gameplay, everything needs to be created anew; otherwise you are setting your company up for failure. There's a reason people try new MMORPG's: Some element of the game appealed to them, or; they are coming from another MMORPG they got burnt out on and are looking for a new experience. No game will ever be like World of Warcraft, ever, again. No one wants to play the same game, or maybe they want a more adult-oriented game to play. Either way, the only way to have the success of World of Warcraft, is to make something new; something fun. I use that game for a reference because it seems as if every developer on the earth wants to make THAT game, but with a different name. No, it doesn't work like that. Games were made different to begin with, because different people like different things, have different styles, etc.

So to any developers reading this: Make your own game, man; look back at all the games you played as a kid. Maybe you played a puzzle game, maybe you played a shooter. When you make your MMORPG, you aren't just making one game, you're making many games. And that is why the genre will never be clearly defined: An MMORPG is a game within a game, within a game, within a game, within a game, within a game.