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3D Vision, your favourite MMO seen thrue the NVIDIA 3D VISION Glasses

I discontinued my old blog "random ideas for mmos" to blog about a couple of tests playing various MMOs with NVIDIAs new 3D-Vision Shutter Glasses.

Author: craynlon

RIFNG 5 : give us weekly content

Posted by craynlon Wednesday June 11 2008 at 1:55AM
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in this issue i want to compare the mmo industry with the comic-book industry to see wether we gamers should have the right to get new content each week.


the mmo engine must be so easy in use that it allows for a dynamic addition of content.
just like a comic book artist uses a lighboard, pen and paper the additional content i speak of should not require a seasoned computer scientist to make it work

to much content means leveling the character needs to be pushed out of the fokus. the goal of the game should be to enjoy the content not to level a charakter to max level the fastest. if you are watching a movie you wouldnt use fast forward as well just to be the first to see the end..

the mmo needs to have a good subscriber base financing the creation of content

some of the figures below are a bit speculation but i try to be close to the truth


now lets look at some numbers:

a comic book in the us sales chart sells around 100.000 copies each month at a price of 3$
i would say after paying printing costs, shipment and distributors that would leave around 1$ for the publisher. so for around 100.000$ (probably less in most cases) they produce 24 pages of artwork and story.

now lets look at a mmo

lets say aoc has 1mio subscribers in a few month paying 14$ each. lets say 90% of it goes to advertising, support, server cost... (in fact i would looooooooove to see some real figures here on how the income from wow/aoc subscription is reinvested) is should be no problem to cut of 2$ for content.
this equals 2mio $/month or the production value of 20 comic books

noone can tell me that with 2mio a month you cant produce a ton of weekly content !

i think the next generation of mmo should not be defined by technical issues like shaders or direct x version but on how good it tells a story. same as you cant await the next comic book issue or the next episode of heroes/ lost you should constantly be looking forward on what challenges await your character in the next few weeks.

if the industry wants to develope it has to offer the customer more then beeing able to raid the same boss for 20days in a row to have a chance of a purple colored gauntlet drop. it has to move away from seeing itselve as a finished game at launch with updates every 6month or so. 
it should capture its audience with a constant stream of high quality content.

jarish writes: have no clue how to make computer games...much different beast then drawing and coloring a piece of paper.

Wed Jun 11 2008 11:09AM Report
ElGreco writes:

Mate stop this..
We should encourage him not destroying his dream.

Wed Jun 11 2008 12:24PM Report
kesleri writes:

You obviously didn't play nor tried RuneScape for a week, they have at least 1 update a week, and in the worst case scenario before big updates at least 2 updates a month(like this month's update for graphical enchancement)

Wed Jun 11 2008 6:14PM Report
Tyrian writes:

Personally, I think it is a mistake to expect quality content to be churned out like an assembly line.  I know that we in North America have the misguided idea that we must have what we want immediately if not sooner and that it must exceed our expectations every time.  Even if you could code "high quality content" in that short a window, I doubt the development team could keep that kind of pace.  The creative process doesn't usually work that way.


Is it really important that that much content be shoved out on that kind of timetable?  I doubt it.  The vast majority of players in most MMOs cannot honestly say that have seen and utilized even a fraction of the avaiable content.  There is no point in putting content out at a rabid pace if it is going to sit underutilzed because your players have not finished the content put in two or three weeks ago.  I also don't believe that the pace of a game should be set by those few rabid fanbois who do nothing but play MMOs all day every day.


Even if you get enough content to patch every week, there is the problem of dealing with all the bugs and server problems that crop up with every patch.  Some of these won't even be fixed before your expecting yet another patch.  Longer downtime to patch and fix patch problems will result in no-one being able to use the existing content, never mind the new content.  Dynamic engines have a whole new set of problems with outages in random zones and unexpected server crashes as you try to update on the fly.


Finally.  I find it moderately offensive that you think we should have the RIGHT to expect weekly update.  The only right you have is to subscribe to an MMO or not.  This kind of arrogance generally bothers me.  If your favourite comic decided to start publishing monthly instead of weekly, the only RIGHT you have is to stop buying that comic. 


Perhaps if MMO players didn't burn through content at light speed the would appreciate what content there is more.



Wed Jun 11 2008 9:37PM Report
craynlon writes:

hmm maybe i have to clarify what i label content...

i didnt mean content in terms of introducing a new race, a new player class or a different set of rules. for this article content equals quests. i also didnt demand that they bring in 50 quests each week, 1 good quest/module would be ok.

if you look at tv you see a daily soap has around 4 milion viewers here in germany and you still tell me that a quest in wow/aoc is harder to produce then a tv show ?

my main intention was to claim that the industry has to grow up to reach even more people. now for most of us "gamers" the ruleset, the poligon count and the controlls seem to be more important then the story that the game has to tell. in that aspect you could compare us tv enthusiasts that drool over the tech specs of the newest HD-Readdy 32'' Mega TV when the main concern should be the quality of the programm we watch on it.

if you look at the neverwinter knights

Wed Jun 11 2008 10:52PM Report
Tyrian writes:

I readily agree that many MMOs today concentrate on eye candy rather than substance.  It would seem that quite a few developers beliieve that their games should be judged on how well they crush our video cards.  Many also seem to believe that, when making a MMORPG that the important word in the acronym is Massive and Roleplay takes a distant back seat.  I personally believe that something small and well crafted is far superior to something huge but made up of predominately filler.

How often and how much content is added is ultimately up to the pipeline design of the developer.  Since most MMOs have weekly downtimes and server maintenace, I could see small quest updates done at that time.   Whether they would be large enough to be called a content patch would depend on the developers resources.  MMOs are extremely expensive to maintain and the R&D budget usually takes a back seat to keeping the servers up.  (The average MMO costs about a million dollars per year just in broadband fees and maintenance.)

Thu Jun 12 2008 3:46PM Report
craynlon writes:

one thing i see atm is that mmos are developed like any other computer game to be kind of short lived. on release they are (hopefully) on top of their game technically when it comes to graphics and  game engine. but then the next deloper has to reinvent the engine over again.

if you look at games like neverwinter knights 1 and 2 they came with a great authoring-toolset that even allowed amateurs to write content.

so rather then reinventing the same game over and over again i hope that age of conan or ddo for example need only small tweeks of their engine to stay up to date and will be able to conzentrate on story telling.

i would really like to see a mmo that doesnt need to balance/ bugfix/ tweek every update but rather introduce new quests. that mmo would come with a toolset geared to implement new modules as easy as producing a comic book and wouldnt take more then a month for a team of artist/ scripter/ writer to produce a high quality quest.

Mon Jun 16 2008 7:40AM Report writes:
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