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MMORPGs Are All the Same

Posted by lordaltay1 Saturday July 12 2008 at 10:41AM
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I’m tired of getting excited about an MMORPG and after playing it for a couple hours realizing that it’s the same thing as every other free MMORPG out there. It’s as if every single game runs off the same system, but each game has its own character models, classes and setting. Other than those three things, almost every game plays the same way. I’d love to see developers try and innovate rather than using the same rehashed themes and systems. Why not try changing the way uses gain skills or the way players can gain attributes rather than leveling up?

One major complaint I have is that almost every MMORPG has the same slate of character classes. The least developers can do is invent a few classes rather than using the same rehashed variations of Warrior, Mage, Priest, Thief and Archer. I’m sorry, renaming the classes doesn’t count as creating a new class. You can go ahead and call a warrior a fighter, barbarian, berserker, swordsman, knight, or mercenary, but it’s still a warrior. It can’t be that difficult to create different classes. Even combining two or more classes to make a hybrid would be unique. Take a “pirate” class for example. They can be a hybrid swordsman and a marksman with swords/pistols. Most MMORPGs also never utilize the necromancer class or any class that relies on summoning pets, which would be a welcomed addition to the usual slate of classes.

Another feature I’ve seen overused is the standard quest system. How many times have you been presented with a quest that says “Go outside town and kill 10 scorpions “ or a quest that sounds a bit like this, “Take this note and give it to Joe who is standing 15 feet away from me”. I mean come on! I’m not saying the developers should scrap the kill quests, but I’d love to see some variation! MapleStory actually did a remarkable job with its quest system. The game introduced platforming quests to the MMORPG genre. Players actually had to master jumping through a map while avoiding obstacles in their goal to reach the end of the map. Sure this wasn’t exactly a revolutionary concept, but it’s definitely a welcomed change from the usual quests you’ll run into in an MMORPG, and it’s actually fun. No matter how you look at it, killing 10 scorpions for the local butcher shop isn’t fun.

I’m also tired of seeing the leveling system in 99.9% of MMORPGs. Why are developers so afraid of breaking away from the norm? Sure it’s easier to use an already established system, but players definitely want to try new things. I for one would give ANY game a shot if it looked unique to me in some way, even if the game was pay to play, but even pay to play games lack uniqueness. The only game I see in the pay to play market that seems at all unique is Eve online, and I congratulate the people over at CCP [the developers of Eve Online] for taking a chance and avoiding the entire leveling system and focusing rather on a skill system. I’m not at al claiming that games with a leveling system are bad, as if the system is very well polished and balanced it can still be fun, but I’d love to trying something new.

Lastly, I’m tired of seeing the fantasy genre over used. I’ve already written about this, so i’ll keep this short. I’d love to see developers try out new genres. The Sci-fi theme definitely hasn’t been fully utilized yet, as there really aren’t any free MMORPGs that have a large community yet that are sci-fi themed. One game Luckily, there are companies out there that are trying to innovate. Gravity for example, has released Requiem: Bloodymare which labels itself as a “horror game”. Although Requiem feels a bit like fantasy, I’d like to congratulate Gravity for at least trying something new, and would like to encourage all game developers to try something new for a change.