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Community Spotlight: What is a "real" MMOG?

Posted by MikeB Thursday December 17 2009 at 1:59PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on a thread started by form user aranha entitled “Quit the BS devs and gives us a real MMORPG for once!” In the thread aranha laments about the direction the MMOG genre has taken in recent years:

“Im done searching for mmo's since the games just arent fun anymore. I play EvE from time to time and its great but wth happend in this genre?
If we look back to the oldies of UO, EQ, AO, RO and the rest of the oldies there was passion and fun ideas for the games. There was something to do everyday and it was FUN

Ive allways been against WoW not becose it sucks or that smelly 11 yearolds call them self mmo vets for playing it for 8 months but becose of the negative impact it had on the mmogames. Arent we freaking tired of doing 213 quests everyday to gain a level and get a few more crappy skills that barely do any diffrence at all since you have to kill higher lvl mobs anyway becose some bum in a camp would give you a cheeseburger and XP if you did?

What ever happend to stat and skills that affect eachother and making characters with real builds that stood out from eachother and especially how those builds had an effect in PVP making the class you played diverse and something YOU layed thought into and created. The char becomes more than just one of "that" class that just differ in levels.

What ever happend to free choices like entering a game and just walking a path and see where it leads instead of some hobo telling you to go kill 10 hogs or whatever. Theres so much old good stuff like the sandboxing ideas and real character customization that just got lost when all the new features got implented. Features that some of us mmorpg vets still see and the best things in mmorpgs and that kept us playing those old games for months and years with nothing more than a smile on our faces.

For me WoW isnt something i like to call an mmorpg as it showed the gamedevelopers that simplicity is a winning concept. That any player can jump in and enjoy it no matter how young or stupid. Doing quests for exp, Grinding for crap, Raiding for gear, PvPing for gear or faction status. What ever happend to PvPing for your clan or territory or fun?”

One thing that stood out about aranha’s thoughts was the bit about PvP. What happened to players simply PvPing for the fun of it or for the pride of their faction or realm? This particular point sticks out to me because we have a very recent example to refer to: Warhammer Online.

I used to write a column on Warhammer Online at the now defunct MassiveGamer before coming here to, and it was interesting to examine the fact that Mythic had really banked on that apparently now apparently “old school” concept of realm pride established by the now venerable Dark Age of Camelot to drive the RvR experience in WAR.

That didn’t pan out.

RvR lakes were empty, no one really cared or participated in RvR. Everyone was cobbled up in scenarios simply trying to get as much exp as possible as it happened to be the path of least resistance. It was only when Mythic took action in the late Fall of 2008 by adding more incentives to the RvR lakes such as RvR influence, exp boosts, etc that players started paying any attention at all. This, I think, marked the death knell of realm pride as a major driving force for large-scale or territorial based PvP in a contemporary MMOG.

Now there are clearly many MMOG gamers who are still around that love the idea of fighting over realm pride and territory, but I think we are a bit of a minority now.

PvP aside, it’s clear that aranha in particular recalls joyous times in sandbox MMORPG’s, but is he really asking for developers to put out a “real” MMORPG, or a sandbox MMORPG? More importantly, what IS a real MMORPG?

I think that is the crux of this entire thread, and a contentious issue for the entire community. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve added games to our game list only to have members of the community cry out that the game is not a “real” MMORPG, or even when we break news of a new game’s announcement, or an update to an existing game that some sects of our community don’t consider to be a “real” MMORPG.

The industry and the MMOG genre in particular are far too young to really establish what is a “real” MMORPG. The definition, it seems, for most users appears to be very personal. If you ask someone who started playing MMOG’s with World of Warcraft you will get a very different answer from someone who started with Ultima Online.

User Ceridith thinks he may have found a common thread between us all, however, “I think what's missing from MMOs these days is the virtual world aspect. The original MMOs were made with the focus on making a gaming environment that felt like it was a living world that players could explore and interact with, and then the gameplay was built around that world. It feels like these days however, the gameplay has the main focus, and the game world is made as an afterthought simply as a container to jam the gameplay into. That is why I think we're ending up with so many static and bland feeling MMOs, because the MMO environments aren't being designed nearly to the quality they previously were.”

User wisesquirrel concurs with Ceridith, though he also adds that community is also a key factor in a “real” MMOG, “I agree on that, gameplay is crucial, but for an MMO to be an MMO there has to be a sense of community, the best way to do this is let players handle their own economy, cities and politics in some way.”

The aforementioned two points struck a chord with user Kaneth, who has to search back all the way to the original Asheron’s Call to recall the last time he felt a MMOG felt like an actual world, “I agree with both quoted posts. The last mmorpg I played that felt like the world was living and breathing was AC1. I really loved that game and I often think about going back. I remember loading up my packs with the basic essentials and then running out into the wilds. Coming across merchants in the middle of nowhere, finding a nice hunting spot where there wasn't another soul for miles, or just roaming from lifestone to lifestone killing whatever was in your way.”

So what makes a “real” MMORPG to you? And do you think any game on the horizon embraces these qualities? Let us know in the comments below!

kennethk writes:

I think community and open world feel to me is what makes a MMORPG a real MMORPG. I believe when you play a game and your concern isnt to level or finish such and such a quest, that wandering and exploring the world makes a real MMORPG. I think logging on because you feel at home and the open chat doesnt make you cringe, that people either RP or at least make an effort not to ruin the experience for others make it a real MMORPG. Basicly, a real MMORPG does not exist in general, it varies from person to person.

Thu Dec 17 2009 2:47PM Report
Amathe writes:

I'm not suggesting this as any kind of absolute, but for me, a real mmo is one where (1) players need each other; (2) a player's reputation matters in terms of how much that need will be met.

In some of the older mmos, people had to help each other. Your guildmates and friends were part of that , but you may also need help for some content from a much larger community or just a passing stranger. Whether you would get that assistance had a lot to do with your server reputation for being helpful to other people and generally being a decent person/player. People who were greedy and selfish - their names got around and pretty soon they started to realize that wasn't a productive way to act.

Lately, that doesn't seem to matter as much. People just use each other and then leave a group without so much as goodbye. If they don't directly benefit from doing something, its much harder to get their assistance.

I guess I am saying that I miss the days when a player's reputation amongst the server community was a much greater factor than it is today. That made the game feel more to me like a world than merely a series of isolated tasks undertaken by people who have no real regard for one another in pursuit only of better loot.

Thu Dec 17 2009 3:08PM Report
akathos writes:

I think the one thing most mmo's at this current time are lacking is  innovation, mmo's are laying in a stagnated pool of water,  they need to break free from the trends, of what most people call WoW clones. I havn't played WoW and won't no particular reason, just one. There isn't much innovation in design and gameplay. Dev's arn't taking that extra step to find out what gamers really want from an MMO experience, instead tehy play a safe card and clone another MMO but put a new face on. A real MMO to me has have a few things

1. A in-depth detailed and easy to access story line

2. Gameplay which is different to most other MMO's,

3. Extensive customization of character appearance and outfit's

4. Must be able to give you the feeling of RolePlay, I.E- that you are a sneaky assasin who thieves and murders, while taking safety in the sanctury... rather than yes you've got a dagger now go level and get the normal everyday quests like everyone else, kill x chickens, instead sneak into a mansion and steal the plans to a uber top secret government plan, which may i add would only be available to the sneaky murderous thief.

Thu Dec 17 2009 3:43PM Report
akathos writes:

I also agree to the open world feature, one of the top of my head Oblivion.

Thu Dec 17 2009 3:45PM Report
Netuddki writes:

For me an MMORPG is a game, where community and interaction and independency matters.

WoW and all other games are only single player games with coop modus at this time. There is no dependancy, there is no community and interaction occures due to grouping for the next boss and for the sake of XP.


If you are looking for the real MMO, visit the forum at And look at the donate banner! :-P

Thu Dec 17 2009 4:13PM Report
Tanemund writes:

You'll never again see old school sandbox type MMOs succeed in an internet peopled with gamers who believe they have to be "rewarded" with "advancement" for every second they spend in the game.  Now every gamer believes they should be "rewarded" just because they showed up and when they say "reward" they mean "what do I get out of it in terms of character advancement?"  Without an audience that is looking for a community to belong to and be a part of, old school sandbox MMOs are doomed.  Unfortunately that isn't something you can program. 

Witness Warhammer, the direct descendant of one of those old school MMOs DAoC.  The DAoC players went around crying about the lack of community even though Mythic had gone out of their way to program "realm" type stuff.  When it got right down to it, the DAoC players didn't want "community".  They wanted a lot of people around for their little "6 man" to kill and when that didn't happen they cried about a lack of community.  What no one understood was if you separate yourself along guild lines no community will form.

I agree with Netuddki's assesment.  Since WoW we have single player games with optional community content.  What makes an MMO is a community of people operating as a community in a virtual world.  It's entirely possible to play WoW until the very high level content and not meet a single other person, let alone group with one.  Grouping is a key component but even if you force it it won't make community without the willing participation of the gamers.

Truth is the games can't be made like they were because the Gamers can no longer be left to their own devices.  Until the gamers step up and take responsibility for making an old school sandbox type game work, those type of games can't happen.

Thu Dec 17 2009 4:34PM Report
Ruyn writes:

MMO:  Anything without  instancing (or very limited)

OG (online game): Anything with a lot of instancing

I'm not even going to get started in the RPG part of the discussion.

Thu Dec 17 2009 4:56PM Report
Lexiscat writes:

There are many kinds of MMORPG, just as there are many forms of art, or music, or anything that can be stylized to an individual taste.

For me, I enjoy all kinds.  To many different experiences to list here, but all of them offered something that massive amounts of strangers could do together.

Thu Dec 17 2009 5:59PM Report
rhish writes:

This is somethign that has really been an issue for me recently.


I started my mmorpg days with UO, but didnt play too much, i was on a 14.4 line and young at the time. But i did start at launch.

Then someone invited me to try Asherons Call 1. I was hooked from the start.


Since playing Ac1 i have tried just about every major mmorpg that has come out. AO, SWG, EQ1, EQ2, etc etc. and then of course WoW, and now LoTRO!

And i must say i agree with a lot of what the article had to say. WoW ruined it for everyone.


Before WoW came out the whole mmorpg genre was about creating the virtual world and then letting you be a character in this dynamic living world. That was the base of mmorpg. Everythign else revolved around that core idea. There was a world and you were a character in that world. Then, there were all sorts of things you freely ran around doing whatever there was to do in that world,. The experience was unique to your character. If you ran west, you ran west, and your experience was unique to whatever you got yourself into. But you could also run east, and play the game, and your experience would be completely different than if you ran west.


The biggest thing though, was that the developers were actually TRYING to make the game world like a real world. Fantasy yes, game yes, but the developers were trying to make it seem like your character was just some entity in this living breathing world.


With that core idea entact, they then woudl devlop things you could do in this world. Bad guys in the world with you. Your character grew and developed.

But none of that was the core. The game didnt revolve around YOUR characters experience. The world was created independent of any one character having some glorious experience. The game world was created, and then depending on what you did in the world the experience followed.


WoW destoryed all this by removing the dynamic breathign living world and replacing it with a Theme Park zones core. Instead of creatign a dynamic world independent of the character experience, they created the precise experience you will have playing the game, from start to finish and then designed a world around that.

You can almost see what the developers had in mind when they developed the game.

"Ok, we want them here in this zone at level 12, and they will have this armour, this sword, and doing quests x y and z. Once they finish those three quests they will gain level 13 and move to this other zone, and start this series of stuff... ad nauseum."

This totally destroyed the idea of a dynamic game world and replaced it with a single player game experience. Instead of buying access to a game world you were paying for a game experience. Not unlike watchign a movie.

Instread of being given access to a living dynamic game world, you were strapped to a theme park ride. The ride would start at some place and tracks would take you to theme park zone a, where you would experience x y and z, and get item p q and r. Then the ride would slowly move to the next theme park zone, and you would do this down a linear path to the max level.


What is their reasoning? Well i think WoW demonstrated the mmorpg market was ripe for the picking. They did what MS did with windows 95. They made it accessible to not just mmorpg gamers, but to anyone with 15 bucks a month and a credit card.

What they also did was to ensure NO PLAYER was able to advance further than any other player, or be anythign any other player couldnt be. The theme park ride analogy is perfect. By strapping players into a seat on a ride, they ensured no other player would fee like they arent as good as anyone else.

Anyone playing the game, be it some hard core player or old lady, had the same game experience. No matter how much the hard core player tried, they would always still be on that same linear path. And no matter how stupid or slow the old lady was, she would never fall behind the hard core gamer, the ride keeps going. You just keep pressing the GO button over and over and you will advance, and youll be relatively in the same character development situation as anyone else.

I think developers somewhere musta did focus group research to find out why people stop playing mmorpgs, or what bothers them about mmorpgs. And the answers were "i dont like feeling like im so far behind everyone else, or im at such a disadvantage because im not good at playing mmorpgs or i dont have as much time as other people to play the games.

With this answer at the apex of their design strategy, they developed the game so that no player woudl ever feel like they were at a disadvantage because someone else who plays more often or is better at playing games gained some advantage because of it.

The hard core player, no matter how good he is, he's only ever going to get x amount of levels, and y amount of gear from theme park zone alpha. The old lady can login and see that those same levels and gear are readily available to her. she just needs to press the go button more.


WoW started this, and its become like the core of all mmorpgs after it. They are all doing it now. Instead of an open dynamic game world, where people develop independent of the world, every single mmorpg now is a theme park zone world, where players are strapped to a ride, and unable to deviate form the intended game experience.


One of the greatest things about Asherons Call 1 was the fact that you could GIMP your character. The game didnt develop your character for you. You had to think out what skills you wanted to spend your points in. And then the monsters werent created precisely according to how your chartactyer is. In todays game the monsters are literally created so that it takes a set amount of time to defeat one. And then if your not suppoese to be in that zone, they eat you,.

In AC1  There were hundreds of skills. You chose a couple major ones, a few minor ones, and started dumping xp into them. But every character had every skill. They were just better at some thigns than other things based on which way YOU decided to develop your character.

By doing it that way, YOU developed your character, and if you werent paying attention, or you made poor choices, your characetr developed poorly.

However, from an econmic standpoint, im guessing this was a problem for subscriptions. There are a lot of gamers out there that are smart, enjoy using their brain while playing, but there are infinitely more who are dumb, and dont want to have to think while they are playing the game. They want to sit back in their chair, eat popcoirn, while smashing down on the go button over and over. And whats worse, they want their characetr to be just as good as anyone else playing the game.


Since those people literaly dwarf the former, they are the ones Developers are creating mmorpgs for now. Developers are making their games for those lowest common denominators. Which demographic is the largest? how can we make the most amount of money? By making the game desireable for the largest group of people. The largest group of people are the ones who just want to sit back, eat popcorn and smash the go button, and want their characetrs to be just as good as everyone elses while they do it that way.

WoW, like bill gates, realized there is a lot more money to be made creating a product for the largest group of consumers, instead of just creating a good product.

Instead of creating the best mmorpg ever, lets create an mmorpg the largest group of people will pay us money for.

Until this situaiton is exasperated, i dont think anyone is going to do anythign but design more craptastic theme park zone rides for the mmorpg market.

WoW started it, and now everyone developing mmorpg's or running mmorpgs has either made their games this way or are patching them to death to try and mkae them this way.


Whats the outcome? Hard core gamers, or even just average gamers get to play craptastic games, filled to the brim with lazy arse people who dont want to spend any time or effort developing their characetrs or exploring a world.


Look at the quest system nowadays. We stare at a small map circle guiding our arrow from quest icon to quest icon. We right click, click accept, and then see where the arrow points. We push the go button until our character reaches its destination, and then press hotkey 1 2 or 3 over and over until the quest arrow says to go back to the quest icon. We right click, and get a scoopy snack, and directions to the next quest icon.... This is what quyesting is in todays mmorpgs....


I remember the days of Asherons Call, where there were NO QUEST ICONS looming over anyones head. You had to learn about "quests" form word of mouth, of players, or from rumors in a pub. The rumor might say "i saw soem strange things in the dire lands, etc etc". And so you would have to travel through the wordl and go in search of what might be out there. Actually questing along the way. You might be working on creating a special bow or somethign.. over thelast several weeks. And need another set of auroch horns to complete the materials needed. So, while running out to the dire lands you keep an eye out for any aurochs along the way... You get jumped by a pack of Virindii around a hill, they destroy you because you are not the biggest baddest thing in the entire game world, and get thrown to a lifestone half way across the mountain... which ends up being near a town youve never been too, so you explore it, and find out theres a baker in town with awesome pies....That was the game experience. And NO ONE ELSE PLAYING had that same experience. In fact, if you started at the same pub again with the same intentions, your experience would definately be different.

There were no icons to run to. There were no 10 wargs to kill. There was a living breathing game world, your character was in it, and it was filled with lots of bad guys and loot...


(Just a side note, the next mmorpg developer who actually implements a loot system, wins, hands down, wins. i said it here first :P)


MMORPG's used to actually be an mmorpg's, nowadays they are theme park zone rides filled to the brim with lowest common denominators.


Can we expect anything in the futrue, unfortunately no. Not until congress enacts a law prohibiting the playing of mmorpg's by anyone without a drivers license or IQ over monkey.

Whose responsible? Blizzard, WoW. And every developing team that hopped on the bandwagon dreaming of gold...


Theres so much i would like to debate concerning this topic....

Thu Dec 17 2009 6:40PM Report
Nacon4 writes:

Excuse me; but some people have lives.  Where they have to go out to make their daily bread.  MMOG's were about community and co-operation, not about how the "Hard Core" gamers had to be appeased by making them the center of the gaming experience!  I've known players who first started out in a MMOG only to cast the old curse of "A Plague on both your houses" before they fell in with the right group and turned out to be elite players in the game.

In short, some of us only want to play to relax; not to substitute online lives for our own.  So the 'sandboxes' we will want to play in are ones where we won't have to rethink the wheel in order to have a good time!

People should remember that a paying customer is the bottom line for these companies and that they are right about that fact.  Eleet K-rad Kewl player or weekend duffer are indistinguishable at this point.  The only difference between the two is that the former tends to bitch about his lot in life a lot more than the latter.  The rest of us only want to share the ride and have fun doing it.

Thu Dec 17 2009 7:09PM Report
Taranis writes:

As the guy @ MS who met/found the fledgling team who became Turbine (bonus points if you know the name of the company before they changed it to Turbine) and shipped AC1 after a 3+ year grind - I still take pride every time I hear AC mentioned!  I honestly think I had more fun helping that team make AC1 than I have had playing any MMO since!

- Jon Grande

Thu Dec 17 2009 7:15PM Report
Morv writes:

I believe that the concept of an MMORPG has been distorted over the years and now no longer exists. Open world, interactivity with world objects, interactive NPCs, true persistent conceptualism, all are missing from present day online games.

Players must be in an environment that encourages positive constructive effort with clear, obvious earned rewards. The gameplay  mechanics and features must be connected with a solid purpose or players will not notice why it is there.

Setting the stage of the game for players is absolutely vital for the players to be interested. Without a proper setting the players will not connect with the game world. Encouraging players to interact with the gaming world requires that the gaming world first be designed to be interacted with.

If we sit down and really think about what it is that makes an MMORPG an MMORPG it will, in fact, be very successful, and shift the direction of the current gaming community.

At this point I contend, with easily provable facts that a great deal of MMOs out there today are not even truly persistent. Which is, in my opinion, the single most important "Law" for establishing that an MMO is an MMO.


Thu Dec 17 2009 7:18PM Report
Koddo writes:

The problem is that mmorpg's are a business first. And traditional mmorpg's just took too long to get to the fun bits (WoW has proven this) and with the influx of these new generic mmorpg players, the old players who liked the feel of the old worlds became the minority. I personally like some of these "theme park" mmorpg's. When I was younger, I would have preferred the old style. But the sad reality is, when you grow up, you tend not to have as much time to dedicate to playing a videogame that will take you 5 hours to effectively do anything and keep up with your friends/guildmates. I used to have the time, and those types still appeal to me, but i just cannot devote the required time to be a player.

If you want the old school types you have to look to the small time indie devs, which are usually gobbled up because they do not have the time or funding to continue to make a game to the standards that the "hardcore" gamer will be satisfied with. And/or a publisher sees the game has some potential, buys the ip/dev team, doesn't think it will make enough money, strips it down and builds it back up to attract the casual gamer. The old school hardcores need to support these people, and show them how much something like that is wanted, and needed. Be damned with having awesome graphics, if they don't make you puke, play it. The more the players are playing these games show the bigger companies that there still is a market and place for those types. And making those types become less a risk. I blame the publishers and the players moreso than the developers.

Thu Dec 17 2009 8:25PM Report
logan400k writes:

A great many people love to talk about the old days. In table top RPGs we do it all the time. Reminiscing about the old days and how games were so much better back then. We do the same thing with MMO's. Everything was so much better back then but there are several reasons we have to take that kind of thinking with a grain of salt when asking a question like the ones above.

1. Many people (not all but many) remember their first sexual encounter as a great and wonderful experience full of excitement and passion. Never mind the fact that it likely lasted a very short time and in the grand scheme of things you have had better sex since. It is the same with games. I remember regular AD&D and Runequest in glowing terms and they are just like ex-girlfriends. Ex-girlfriends that we would totally hook up with again, but ex's none the less. The same is true of UO, EQ, AC, and I will add pre-insanity SWG. They were new and fresh experiences, never mind the fact that AC had you running around killing rabbits or some big baddy in UO would come and whack newbies for the fun of it. Forget EQ's terrible feet graphics or the fact that if you did not belong to a guild with a key or were not friends with someone who was, you were locked out of certain parts of the game. Forget the whole Jedi fiasco. Those were good times! Well o.k. they WERE good times but mainly because they were very new experiences to us.

2. Technology is going to change and with technology comes the ability to experiment. Actually not just the ability but the moral imperative to experiment. Unfortunately when we do so, we often fix what is not broken. Why were the zones in EQ2 so difficult to get to versus EQ? I dunno I have no idea and no matter the reason when the folks at Sony saw it they should have said "Uh no..." but they did not.  Never the less games have to change based on the increased power of computers and much of that is trial and error.

3. Many folks like to compare the old games to WoW, but I have to be honest WoW IS an old style MMO. You had to grind in EQ, you had to grind or power level in AC. You had to grind in SWG. Heck, EQ was the king of "get 10 rat tails" kinds of quests. Community was NOT better back then. Those who role played just took less flack. (Just like we do at table top games... sigh... no I am not crying dammit). WoW is in fact the pinnacle of the Class/Leveling/Questing style of game.

Where the problem comes in is two fold, one leading into the other. WoW is pretty easy to play, not to master maybe but easy to play and is I think a better spiritual successor to EQ than EQII. So it is a great fall back game, even more so than Guild Wars which is free to play on a monthly scale.  So players go experiment and where they once went back to EQ or UO they now go back to WoW.  So WoW is enormously successful and has been. People like to follow success so once Game Devs saw a formula that worked, they try to emulate that. The games that were different, like UO or AC or AO or original SWG have no true spiritual successors and thus a Game Dev would be hard pressed to deliver a concept that on the surface seemed not a path to success.

Of course success can be measured in more than subscribers. As an example, I think very few people would not consider Moby Dick a classic novel and thus a successful example of the written art. It also made Herman Melville very little money so we are told. Companies do not want to Herman Melville; they want to Stephanie Meyer(sp?) and would prefer Twilight, a lesser book in terms of the written art, to Moby Dick because Twilight is a money maker. The problem here is that for every Twilight, there are several young adult series that are not even as good and have limited success because everyone can see that they are derivative.

So the unfortunate side of WoW is that it caters to our collective least common denominator and makes so much money in the process that it is hard not to try and follow that path.

So what is a 'real' MMO? What is a real RPG? Real is the wrong word just as 'good' is the wrong word. Role Playing Games were derived from war gaming (table top) and so MMORPGs might be considered grand children of war games. Since that moment people have been seeking an experience that transcends the medium. UO, EQ, SWG< AC, AO tantalized us and showed us what it could be like but WoW and other games (except maybe EvE but I do not want folks to think I am an EvE fanboy) have not delivered the next step in the evolution.  All of them are 'real' MMOs and in fact fit the mold and the declared / undeclared definition pretty darn well. What they are not doing is evolving the experience and for that we want them to burn in artistic hell. Its a little unfair to everyone involved. Those of us who prefer art over commerce need to back up that desire by influencing the developers. Make them believe we want and will play something different and perhaps someone will take a chance on something different.

Thu Dec 17 2009 8:31PM Report
Ngeldu5t writes:

I agree with most above posters.When WoW came it proved that there are  a lot of video gamers but did a lot of damage to the MMORPG genre.

MMORPG was once about sharing individuality in a collective reality but in todays so called MMO, it's single player with COOP.If I have to point a game in todays market as a real MMORPG it's EvE online.One World where every players interact,no carrot on the stick.If something Big happens it affects everyone in the game/world.They even find a way to satisfy the "we have a life" crowd by letting the player learning skills even  when he is offline.

Along the way it seems that the devs forgot that "persistence" is what makes a MMO.

Thu Dec 17 2009 8:47PM Report
Morv writes:

There is no reason why old gameplay features can not be integrated with new gameplay features. Old concepts don't have to take 5 hours to accomplish anything. In fact, I wouldn't play a game that did require that kind of time. However, old concepts can be adjusted and still be fun. I wager that the bridging of UO and WOW would create an incredibly fun game.

Thu Dec 17 2009 8:47PM Report
BCuse writes:

My first MMO was SWG (started pre NGE), what got me into that was the idea of making my character and "living" in the star wars universe.  i like games that are more of a sandbox.  i want freedom to make my character what i want.  i also want the community around to interact with.  i dont want to just play a solo online game that tells me everything to do.  i agree the big problem of WOW is that all the others want to copy it (for the $$).

Thu Dec 17 2009 9:29PM Report
Terranah writes:

Warhammer pvp did not fail because people don't find pvp fun.  It failed because of factional inequities that had to do with the good side not having a viable tank class relative to the other faction.  Second fail was they made the bad guys look a hell of a lot cooler, so more people played them, and that led to the good side being outnumbered in open world pvp.  Third, the mass of people will tend to take the easiest path, and it was much easier to jump into a scenario with quick, clear cut objectives than spend hours forming up a war party trying to take over a territory, when you would most likely be outnumbered and overpowered do to factional imbalances.


As I have said before, Warhammer failed do to game play design flaws.  

Thu Dec 17 2009 10:00PM Report
werepyre23 writes:

a mmorpg is something like a chew toy to a dog it gets our intrest for sometime and then we move and only have bad things to say about or good either way were humans i mean look at us  pepole of all times are out to get the next big thing wether its fashion or a movie or a game and when people realize how it makes them look or the movies was terrible or the game was a theme park and you wanted a sandbox type or this or that they have things to say  so what makes an mmo is what truly graves in that game wether its in the old game exploring or going from quest to quest or arguing over who joshnon is bigger nd why we dont lvoe this game or we do and many follow and many resist why because it has the title of the name in the thread and so if you like doing this or that that truly makes a mmorpg wether they have what you want or not ussally it comes down to the bandwagon propaganda that says youll miss out if you dont play the game  and so you have a mmorpg likes and dislike and fights breaking out and money flowing in their pockets as words are spoken on forums like it or not its bound to meet someones fancy and we cant change the world

Fri Dec 18 2009 12:13AM Report
Birdeye writes:

There is many valid points made here, For me WoW was my first mmo and play mainly from the pve aspect of the game with an occasional group pvp. It can’t be denied that wow did add many inventive features, mostly though it is polishing of features introduces in previous mmos; on the other hand it can’t be ignored that wow has dumbed down the game experience and while it may get them subscriptions it’s the players who have deal with them. Features that I particularly enjoy is the crossrealm pvp , the new dungeon system, and all the customization options.

Yet even in wow the world doesn’t feel like a “real” virtual world, aion on the other hand goes a long way to make the game feel like a real living and breathing world yet for me the game hasn’t embraced the western audience as well as it should have. There is games like Age of Conan who promise on all the unique features but do not deliver and when they do its months down the road and its not as fun good as it they made it sound. For me the top 3 three wishes is a “real” living breathing virtual world, a in-depth character customization(both in appearance and skills), and a solid pve experience. Features I’d like to see in future mmos is an in-depth RVR where each realm represented an individual server. Allowing each realm (server) to make forge alliances and enemies (completely controlled by each realms players).

What the mmo genre needs right now is going back to the simplicity and doing right; A “Real” Virtual world, solid pve and pvp, and lots of customization. After that then include innovative features like the RvR. Additionally, it would be nice if players had some say of In the game progression.

Fri Dec 18 2009 3:12AM Report
Jairoe03 writes:

 For myself, a real MMO needs to have two things an overall community and persistence. Not necessarily having to make players lean on each other to play the game effectively. If this is going to be a living breathing world, it should allow room for players that prefer solo to be self sufficient but only allow larger scale projects to be accomplished by larger groups of people respectively. I think one of the most important thing emerging here in regards to making it feel more like a world is letting players have more and more control over the economy. I think this is a first great step towards this idea. 

Fri Dec 18 2009 6:13AM Report
Yennik writes:

(1) If over 35% of the content (zones) are instanced then it's no longer a real MMOG.

(2) If any of the world content is hosted by a player's PC, rather than on dedicated game servers, it's no longer a real MMOG.

(3) If 1 and 2 don't DQ the game as a real MMOG, then the game is in fact a MMOG.



Fri Dec 18 2009 9:44AM Report
hogscraper writes:

 MMORPG to me means a game that a lot of people can interact with at the same time. The RPG, to me, is that I am playing a character that I create and can enjoy pretending is my alternate persona. It doesn't matter to me if the majority of content is instanced or not, if the city allows everyone to be together that's massive to me. And that's the problem talking about what makes an MMO an MMO. There is no exact, commonly accepted definition of the term. Because of that, everyone seems to have come up with their own definition and noone seems willing to compromise. And because too many people are self-important know it alls, this will always be an open debate and will never arrive at a proper definition. 


Fri Dec 18 2009 3:58PM Report
madsdafe writes:

Community, interaction. there's no point in looking at a beautiful world if u cant actually interact  w/ that world (and i dont mean the dust u c when u run or swimming just cause u can)

Charater customization some games do let u create ur unique look i'll admit.

Classes and builds lol im so sick of swordsman, rougue/ranger, wizard/mage, priest/cletics y cant u create a charc and choose how u wanna go. If i wanna send a fireball at u the get my bow/arrows then slash u w/ my sword y cant i? 

solo game play w/ only teaming up 4 xp, fight bosses or special monsters no not 4 me.

i also aggree w/ hogscraper's points, wanna enjoy playing as the alternate me w/ a world where everyone is together -prob will nvr happen- but the point is everyone has they views.



Fri Dec 18 2009 7:23PM Report
AftrThoughts writes:

I could go on for days about this type of topic. However, much of what I want to say has already been said. I'm a gamer from the UO, EQ, DAOC (even meridan 59, shhh). That should some it about up right there....

But for those that don't understand what I mean...

1) I'm tired of the bland non-immersive mmos, and just to get it clear immersing yourself in a game has absulutely nothing to do with graphics.

2) I miss character development, when you could GIMP yourself and feel proud about it.

3) I miss exploring, I can tell you right now that I remember the world of DAOC like I lived there for years, I remember where NPCs were, where mobs and dungeons were located, where certain trees with nice little spawn camps were. The follow the dots questing is so bland and is ruining the experience.

4) I am really, really, tired of the arguements that include but are not limited to... "I have a real life..." "I work for a living..." "I don't have the time..." etc, etc.

Games are supposed to be fun, if you only have 5 hours a week then you explore and help the citizens of 'x,y,z' for 5 hours a week, if you can squeeze in 5 hours a day, then explore, help, fight, etc for 5 hours a day. Why is everything a measuring stick nowadays, the less time you log in per week the longer it takes to explore all the fun things to do, YOU DON'T HAVE TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES'

5) Get rid of the all encompassing map systems, maps are great, but they should not indicate your precise in game coord, nor should every little detail already be there, actually your position shouldn't be there at all. You should uncover the map little by little as if you were creating it yourself (I like when games do this as it allowed me to track where I have been and where I haven't). Quest guides should not exist. You should be able to add your own marking to the map, so the map caters to YOUR experience.

6) Get rid of the linear design where devs try to design the world expecting you to be somewhere at 'x' time/lvl

7) Above all else remember that allowing a person to become their avatar and choose and progress that character will keep players around  much much longer then anything else you could add to a game. Character progression and development is the number one aspect most players that I have talked with desire. This is what your legacy is.

I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the idea.


Sun Dec 20 2009 11:35AM Report
wootin writes:

You have to remember, gamers are looking for different things out of an MMO. It would probably be very appropriate to use the Bartle system as a way to view the same game from different perspectives. I'm an ESAK, so if I can go places and do things with other people, I'm good. But a KASE is going to view the game completely differently -if he can kill things and get rewards without leaving town, HE's good.

Actually, I'd suggest that the entire industry wake up and smell the psych profiles. I think most of the blandness of MMOs comes from the "must please everyone" approach. If the industry segments gamers by their gameplay habits, game companies could focus on pleasing each type of player and likely do much better for customer satisfaction and retention.

Sat Dec 26 2009 7:10PM Report
rolandhadley writes:

God, I miss AC. The only truly great MMO I ever played. But even AC declined in my view as it went along, as it succumbed to the “easy mode” brand of thinking that culminated in WoW. To me, the joy of an MMO and world exploration is the joy of the unpredictable. Here’s a few examples of fun, wacky stuff from AC that all got removed from the game by wrongheaded developers making things easier on players:

1) When you died in AC, you reappeared at a lifestone with a “vitae” penalty to all your stats and abilities (5% per death, up to a max 40%) that got worked off by xp. A lot of your gear would be on your corpse that you’ve have to go find and loot to reclaim. One time I remember a powerful magic creature called a Dark Wisp killed a bunch of players near a lifestone. Now, in AC, monsters could level from killing characters, and after a few people had died and died again trying to loot their corpses, the DW started getting extraordinarily powerful. Pretty soon, every player in that part of the Direlands was trying to kill the uber Dark Wisp and failing horribly. There were dozens corpses scattered everywhere. The DW was soon camping the lifestone, killing the multitudes as they reappeared. By the time it was killed, there were hundreds of naked characters wandering around at 40% vitae. It was a server “event”, a spontaneous, unrepeatable happening, that people talked about for months. Soon after, Turbine gave characters a minute or so of immunity from attacks after dying, assuring that this sort of event would never happen again. Unpredictable and inconvenient does NOT equal bad in an MMO!

2) A friend of mine used to wander around a place called the Lugian Citadel and fight Lugians (giants). At one place in the citadel mages would line up against a wall, draining life from Lugians who couldn’t reach them through the wall, while other characters took the risk of fighting them. My friend hated this, so he bought sacks and sacks of fish. He would attack a Lugian once and get it to follow him, and drag it back around the wall to where the drain mages were. He would then hand a sack of fish to the each mage, putting them at close to 300% encumbrance, making it almost impossible for them to run away. Not realizing what was happening, the mages would keep draining, and because my friend stopped attacking the aggro would switch to the mages. The Lugian would suddenly appear and start smacking down mages who were unable to flee. Carnage ensued. Soon after, Turbine made it so you couldn’t give someone something without their permission. God forbid a bit of grief and unpredictability.

3) The most number crunched high level monster for xp was the Tusker Guard. For somewhat lower levels, it was Olthoi, and for mid-levels, Lugians. In another attempt to satisfy some vocal whining players who wanted the game to be easier, Turbine added some huge dungeons that just had one of the aforementioned monsters (Lugian Citadel for Lugians, Black Spawn Den for Tuskers, etc.). Instead of wandering around an immersive world, more and more high level characters just hung around the same dungeons grinding over and over (the “I win!” button).

Count me in the immersive world camp. While WoW introduced a few nice conveniences, they definitely destroyed the genre with theme park predictability. “You are now in the level 20-22 zone. When you are done, move to the level 23-25 zone. When you are done that, move to the level 26-28 zone. When you are done that, move to the level 29-31 zone. The monsters are color coded for your convenience, so you won’t attack something that might actually kill you.” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Wed Dec 30 2009 5:14PM Report writes:
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