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Five MMO Facets that Need Innovation

Posted May 24, 2010 by Michael Bitton

Five MMO Facets that Need Innovation's Bill Murphy examines five MMO facets that could stand to be spiced up a bit in this week's list.

The List

I’m not one that’s prone to complain.  Generally, even as a critic, I can find the upsides of every negative.  I’m habitually and uncontrollably a “glass half full” kind of guy.  Still that doesn’t mean I’m content with everything to remain as is because there’s no room for improvement.  I love MMOs, and I’ve long since learned that their weaknesses are sometimes what define them as a genre of games.  There’s a growing sentiment that MMOs aren’t evolving but rather remaining stagnant because of some cynical viewpoint that everyone just wants to duplicate WoW’s success.  I think companies are starting to realize that WoW is a fluke of the industry, and hopefully that means that the designers will be able to seek what designers should always strive for: innovation.  It may be incremental, but I do believe the evolution of the MMO is already underway with currently released titles and those on the horizon.  Here then is a laundry list of things I’d love to see touched by innovation.

#5 Instancing

There is a sizable group of folks who believe that instancing should simply be done away with.  I can’t quite agree with them, but I understand the sentiment.  Instancing serves as a very valuable tool for story-telling among other things and rather than have it done away with, I’d love to see developers find a way to disguise it and utilize it in a way that goes unnoticed by the player.  The current main use of instancing is for dungeons as a way for developers to control the complexity and difficulty of specific epic encounters.  It’s a good way to help your characters feel powerful in the face of a dangerous enemy, or to deliver a specific scripted encounter that serves a narrative purpose.  But what else can the tool be used for?  And no, separating players because your technology isn’t designed to have lots of people in the same area isn’t a good evolution.  Let’s keep these games massive in their population please.

Read Five MMO Facets that Need Innovation.

Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB

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