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The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Five Things You'd Like to See

Posted by MikeB Thursday March 11 2010 at 5:30PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Sooo… The Future for MMO’s? – 5 Things you would like to see” by Breezeycouk. Breezeycouk’s thread is an attempt to channel a lot of the dissatisfaction and negativity many of us are feeling into a positive discussion on what five things you would like to see in future MMOGs.

Breezeycouk kicks things off with the original list:

“1. Sandbox

2. Missions that mean something - I go here - I kill bad boss - He doesn't respawn or You ask me to save something and then my friend IM's me to ask for my help to do the same mission...  (I know this is dificult but can't someone design a intelligent spawn engine that resets locations / names of enemies or promotes others...)  The same goes with area grabs - If I / We beat off an attack from Something / Someone then give us some terriority for new exploration / bonuses etc or if someone comes in and kills our bosses then they are dead until we elect new ones....   This goes for instances too..

(How much of a bummer would that be to spend an evening on a quest and come back and find your quest giver dead ???)

3. Permadeath - If I F**k up enough to die then I should feel some pain for that - It would slow down people and make them think.

4. Game stability / longeivity - Don't change it drasitcally half way through on knee jerk or allow people to level up in a matter of weeks - give serious thought to the dev program / releases / new features.  - A sea and people with no boats is a great way to stop people doing crazy stuff in new lands - although you could also build in the Aztec / Spanish thing - Great - Loads of gold but then everyone dies as they have no resistance to European disease....

5. Stop the Gold / EXP / Credit sellers & super levelers - Just stop em dead like a virus - You must see their ingame messages / mails. “

Comnitus offers a well, interesting list:

“1) No levels. This is sandbox's greatest strength; horizontal progression rather than vertical.

2) Dev-fostered player interaction, such as a dynamic economy. Players can do all sorts of things, but only if the devs give them tools. I'm not against things like Auction Houses, as long as there are other services that can be performed only by players (for example, you can buy your new sword in the Auction House, but you need another player to enhance it). The economy would be stimulated by mostly non-PvP means. Yep, you heard it right. I don't want FFA PvP in my MMO. Faction vs. Faction or Guild vs. Guild PvP, with limited player looting and item degradation, would be more like it. Players would get resources from the environment, either through harvesting or killing PvE mobs, rather than running up behind a noob with an inventory full of ore, stabbing him, looting him, and snorting maniacally the entire time.

3) Shifting territorial control. I always liked this feature because of DAoC. You take it, you keep it. Obviously, this would apply to PvP.

4) Good graphics. Hey, I know gameplay > graphics, but it doesn't hurt if the game looks good. Fortunately, bad graphics don't seem to be much of a problem anymore. The game would have to run smoothly, though, especially in combat. Smooth, engaging combat is crucial to a good MMO, unless you want to make it more tactical like EVE. Nothing wrong with that, but many people have ADD and will not be satisfied unless there are shiny lights and pew pew everywhere. IT'S EVERYWHERE!

5) Girls. Make it more girl-friendly by offering non-combat social activities so it isn't such a damn sausagefest. Let them dress up or have a tea party or cuddle cute little animals (as long as those animals never set foot in my battlefields).

I know I kind of ran out of steam for 4 and 5, but I'm serious about more non-combat activities (including good crafting, because crafting can be fun if done right). The more versatile your game is, the more options you can offer your players, the more subs you'll get. “

I’m sure many of the guys would like to see more (real) girls in their MMOG travels, but I am not so sure the lack of females has much to do with the lack of cute little animals to cuddle.

And while Drago_pl is a bit cynical, he offers his take nonetheless:

“I'm aware my wish list will never be implemented by big company because this will not cater to masses but here we go:

1) Skill based system. No classes at all. Maybe some form of specializations to prevent everyone being same but FFS don't force me to relog if I want to be crafter/healer instead of melee guy when I'm in other mood. Darkfall is trying to do it right now, we will see the effect soon.

2) One instance world. It can be done and it's done by many games and I see no reason why there shouldn't be more games where you actually fell it's living and changing world instead of some multiplayer game.

3) Fully deformable environment. Looking at Wurm right now. It's fun and really makes exploring exciting. Players will always do things no dev would imagine if given right tools.

4) Deep player housing. Want to make house? Find a spot and build one. Want to make city? Bring buddies and work on it. Castle? Clans would love it. As much customization as possible (something like A tale in the desert boosted)

5) Real meaningful economy. EVE done it right. No other game even close. Why? You need to think about game economy before launching game. Adding auction house 2 weeks before release is not implementing economy in your game dear devs.

That's my wish list but as you can see all points are already made in some games. I just need company with enough balls to create such a game, company without Must Be Blizzard II mentality.”

There are tons of other great responses, but this week’s entry is getting a bit long as it is! I’ll round it out with five things I personally would like to see in future MMOGs:

  1. Character Customization: I’m a stickler for this stuff. The rest of the game becomes moot to me without robust character customization. And no, 800 sliders that barely make a difference doesn’t count. ;) I’d love to see APB levels of customization in every new game, but hey, that’s why this is a wishlist!
  2. A game designed with the end-game first: WAR was the closest to achieving this in my opinion so far. The game was designed around the campaign and the culmination of that campaign in the sacking of a side’s capital city. While the execution turned out to be a mess and unsuccessful, you definitely got the idea that they had a top down vision for the game. Many MMOGs launch with enough (sometimes not enough) content to get you to their level cap, and then there is nothing to do. Anyone can do the level grind; let’s see some innovative end-game designs.
  3. Graphics: Yes. I know, I’m breaking Breezeycouk’s rules here but it must be said. MMOs definitely have potential for more reach by designing their graphics to run on anything up to toasters, but I have to say, believable worlds require believable graphics and we’re not going to push the envelope by continuing to cater to people who won’t let go of their GeForce 2’s. Powerful rigs won’t run you $3,000 like they used to, that argument doesn’t hold anymore. There is simply no excuse!
  4. That sandbox feeling: I don’t need the ultimate sandbox experience, but I’m a bit biased given my first MMOG was Star Wars Galaxies and I’d like to see games where the world feels more like a world, and not just a regular RPG with persistent gameplay and many users. MMOG’s don’t do the regular RPG better than real ones (typically), so they should play to their strengths – creating believable virtual worlds. This shouldn’t come at the cost of gameplay, however. I definitely think hybrids can exist.
  5. Improved AI:  Crappy AI is an issue in all games, but it’s particularly disconcerting in MMOGs. Beyond improvements to combat AI, I’d love to see NPC’s with daily routines a’la Oblivion.

 

What are the top 5 things you’d like to see in an MMOG? Let us know in the comments below!