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The Frontier of the MMO Genre

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the they-don't-even-have-regular-socks dept.

Games 92

Eurogamer is running a feature about what they call "frontier" MMOs, games that are on the fringe of a market flooded with attempts to replicate the success of Everquest and World of Warcraft. Many publishers already have more MMO projects than they know what to do with, and often leave the more unusual and unique games out in the cold, preferring to stick with familiar IP or a tried-and-true approach. "Like any gold-rush, the MMO market also attracts a different kind of adventurer: the fearless, inexperienced, determined and solitary dreamer, making a go of it on nothing but their own resources and pluck. The online distribution and direct revenue streams — be they subscriptions or micro-transactions — make it theoretically possible to make a mint in MMOs without any help from the gaming establishment at all." They take a brief look at several such games currently in development, including Earthrise, Gatheryn, and Global Agenda.

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Time sink (3, Interesting)

GordonCopestake (941689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744183)

Given how much of a time sink these games are the more that are on the market the more diluted the user base becomes. What we could REALLY do with is something like a generic engine where users can interact with subgames, something like second life but more... fun? That way people can go off and fight goblins in one subgame or go off and fly space craft in another sub game. The benefit being everyone is interacting in the same online "world". Although who controls this one "master" MMO i have no idea. It needs to be opensource and distributed somehow.

Re:Time sink (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744305)

Just give me massively detailed dungeons with tons of routes, twists, and challenges. Not since EQ has there been challenging dungeons in any MMO.

Re:Time sink (4, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744737)

I fully agree. I usually get each new MMORPG just to give it a shot but, really, no one's touched EQ's dungeons. They were challenging, required strategy and planning for the worst (trains, etc), crowd control, a variety of skills, skilled players, and most importantly they were fun. Then you had the high level Planes and Raids that were all of that bumped to the next level. And then Lost Dungeons of Norrath was released and it once again reinvented itself.

It's a shame that people are in such a race to hit the finish line in these games that they don't want to stop and smell the roses on the way and enjoy them.

Re:Time sink (2, Funny)

lpp (115405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748225)

It's a shame that people are in such a race to hit the finish line in these games that they don't want to stop and smell the roses on the way and enjoy them.

Your Smell does 448 physical damage to Rose.
Rose dies.
You gain 1022 experience (425 rested).

If what you described went down like this, I'm sure a LOT of people would stop and smell the roses.

Re:Time sink (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27752575)

I'm a little bit curious, because I've played all of one MMORPG, but have you tried Requiem:Bloodymare? (The reason it's my only MMORPG ever is that it's free to play, and I've always resisted shelling out $15 a month for a game. )
 
If you have, how would you rate its (fairly limited in number, I guess) dungeons?

Re:Time sink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27749295)

I've been saying this for years. I thought I was the only one left who liked large, complex dungeons... Most MMOs are all boring outdoor content, with very limited and completely linear indoor areas.

Re:Time sink (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744321)

All you really need for that is a standard API for portable avatars, with a way to hand off between environments.

Re:Time sink (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744373)

So how do you control one world vs another? If I get a powerful weapon in one realm and find that another realm is handing them out like candy (or your weapon is useless), what's the point of going through the one I originally did?

Re:Time sink (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744421)

Elments which are unique to a realm need to stay there IMO. The only things which can be portable are things which are common to all environments. That may just come down to some information about identity and presentation.

Re:Time sink (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744535)

Then you essentially start over from realm to realm? What's so different than having different games today? Carrying a name? That's about all you could carry from game to game without giving someone an advantage or messing with the content of another world. How incredibly unfitting would it be to have a Tauren Shaman in Anarchy Online or Tabula Rasa? These realms can be varied. Even if you did allow that, how do you handle the models and armor? If you take a Dark Elf from Everquest and put it in WoW, the WoW developers would have to make the assets for every possible layout of creature. Minions of Mirth allows you to play creatures and Horizons allowed you to play a dragon. Wouldn't it be a little out of place (or unbalancing) to have dragons flying around Everquest?

Re:Time sink (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746141)

It would have to be a complete set of worlds. I could only see that as a new game, or set of games, not something trying to string together existing games. That would simply not work.

I think it could be very interesting to see a transfer from, say, a Warhammer MMO to a Warhammer 40k MMO.

What I'd envision would be some sort of game where, instead of expansions, you get a new subgame every year or every other year. Today it's medieval fantasy. First expansion, ultra high tech future world. Next expansion, some Shadowrun-like near future. And so on. It could even be charming to see the various locations in different times, it could be made as some sort of time-travel game where you can shift between the worlds, and you could even start to weave them together where certain key (quest) items can travel with you from one time into another, so you could start epic time-spanning quests and raids. And of course, to accomplish them you'd have to be a champion in all the times.

Re:Time sink (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746069)

You need more than that. You cannot simply switch from medieval fantasy to ultra high tech. Care to explain how my legendary sword of awesome should hold out against a simple laser blaster that melts it (and me) before I even come into reach?

At best you could create a basic ruleset (like some standard attributes and a few core skills), and you have to travel naked. That way, you could become the ultimate high tech hero but can't really fight well when you decide to go medieval instead (you couldn't fight with broadswords, but you might have a slight advantage because of higher attributes and maybe a laser sword skill).

Think GURPS meeting MMORPG.

Re:Time sink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27752675)

You would do it GURPS or HERO style. 1d6 of electrical damage is 1d6 of damage, regardless if it is a lightning elemental doing the damage, a taser, or a electric blaster. Make powers and items based on the same standard. Geez it ain't hard. Posting anonymously due to modding two posts +1 insightful, two posts +1 funny and two posts -1 stupid fuck.

Re:Time sink (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744333)

Funny you should mention a game like that. Free Realms is being launched for everyone today. I haven't seen much of it outside of screenshots and trailers, but from the descriptions i've read, it's got a CCG combat system, kart racing, Bejeweled/peggle like minigames, Cooking Mama type crafting games, board games. The art style looks like it's made for young kids, though. I know you mean a bigger, metagame type MMO, but your description sounded like the descriptions i've heard of Free Realms.

Re:Time sink (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744503)

The trouble with something like that isn't technological(it'd be tricky; but doable) but social. Within the context of a set of game rules, everybody hates scarcity, because they want more stuff than they have. What they don't actually want, though, is a "post-scarcity" gameworld, since there would be no challenges, no competition, no hierarchy left.

In a setup with multiple, interoperable, independently controlled environments, there would be constant competition between environments("come to instance X, uberweapons are only 2 gold, and all spawns drop ph5t l3wt!" "No, come to instance Y, all hyperweapons are only 1 gold, and all spawns drop multiple uniques!"). Not to mention the potential for little "griefer HQ" setups to spring up, where disposable accounts can stock up on the most annoying equipment in moments, before heading out to raise hell.

Re:Time sink (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745675)

Freerealms.

Re:Time sink (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746003)

The key word is content. You need it. Your players want it. And it's hellish expensive.

What I'm really waiting for, and I'm really amazed it didn't surface yet, is some sort of "Web 2.0 MMO". I.e. an MMO following the Web 2.0 creed, "you make the content, we make the revenue".

It's amazing that MUDs, one of the key predecessors of MMORPGs, actually had that feature (i.e. "experienced" players getting the opportunity to add their own parts of the world to the game), that various FPS and RTC games have "map builders" and whatnot, yet no MMO so far dared to step into those chilly waters and try it.

Think of the opportunities. Thousands of players able and willing to be your content creators. For free. You'd just have to playtest and canonize it. Reward? Hell, name some super-epic crap that drops in there after them and a lot of your fanboys would already LEAP at the minuscle chance that their design gets accepted. Sure, of the 1000 entries you get, 900 outright reek, 90 are barely playable and 9 are just not good enough, but the last one is about that what your top paid content designers could have hacked out for a lot of dough.

And all it costed you was hiring a bunch of college kids and an experienced designer or two to test it and an entry in the database to name the new super-cool drop.

Why no takers?

Re:Time sink (4, Informative)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746293)

There is at least one taker that I know of - City of Heroes recently released the ability for players to create their own quest lines, via a tool called Mission Architect [cityofheroes.com]

I haven't played it myself, but from all accounts it appears to be a success.

Re:Time sink (3, Interesting)

Gnaythan1 (214245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746885)

Mission Architect is fun... really fun.

In about three hours I built a mission called "Dorothy is Dangerous", fleshed it out with a Wizard of Oz theme, had the wicked witch as a contact and had a team of supers taking on munchkins, flying monkeys, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, and a massive boss battle to take down Dorothy. I've been tweaking it since to make it better. Other people send me input on my mission saying if they like it or not.

Since then I've played one story arc after another... most of them seem to be focussed on leveling the toon as fast as possible, but that's just one aspect. A LOT of them are simply fun little adventures to run people through.

Right now, I'm working on a Fairies vs Goblins battle where I expect to have a dozen flying fairies helping me defeat the goblin king at the end.(as you can tell, I have an eight year old daughter assisting me in my design choices).

I'm having a blast.

Re:Time sink (1)

Sabathius (566108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746971)

I have, and it's fantastic.

I believe user-created content is the future of MMOs. It's a paradigm whose time has come. City of Heros is starting the trend, and other MMOs will have to incorporate user-created content or risk losing customers to those that do. I've already seen many user-created story ideas that trump the developer-created ones. Conversely, there are lots that suck--but that's to be expected! ;) That said, there's a rating system built-in that allows the great content to rise to the top. It's not completely free from tampering at this point, but nice none-the-less.

Keep in mind that "The Architect" is in version 1.0. The Mission Arc creator will only get more powerful in subsequent issues. (I personally want the ability to fine-tune the placement of geometry and mobs, but I cetainly appreciate what The Architect is so far!)

Re:Time sink (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27759563)

So far, Mission Architect has been an absolute madhouse (in a good sense).

By developer accounts, there are approximately 3800 developer-created mission arcs in the game since its inception.

In the month or so that issue 14 (Mission Architect) has been out, there have been over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND player-generated arcs created thus far.

Re:Time sink (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746539)

It's not quite the same, but the WoW addon community kind of works like this. We develop addons for a variety of reasons, though often it's because the default game does something we don't like or doesn't do something we want it to do.

Some addons end up only being useful to the original authors, many are complete crap, many are duplicates of other functionality, many are quite useful for their intended purposes/niches, and a few of them are absolutely game-changing.

Two MMO-type worlds I can think of that do have the "user generated content" are "There" and "Second Life". The odd thing with There was that in order to develop content, you had to spend "There bucks" which often translated into having to spend real money using RMT. Second Life seems to be totally about the micro transactions, but from what I can see developing content doesn't actually cost you money (in game or RMT).

I messed around with "There" a bit... wrote an autopilot using Perl... was entertaining, but other than playing games of spades and exploring around a bit, I didn't really get much out of it. I tried Second Life... for like 6 hours... In that time, I ran into WAY too much cyber sex stuff. It was just plain uncomfortable, and I never went back.

Tried EVE... Never got a chance to get bothered by the brutal anything-goes PvP, cuz the initial grinding was so incredibly tedious. Set up a skill to train and log off... BRILLIANT!

I'll stick to raiding Ulduar for now... got ROFLPWONED by Iron Council our first time there... read up on strats, ready for another try.

Re:Time sink (1)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27783139)

I wasn't terrribly impressed by Second Life either. Unfortunately it seems that User-Created Content = Cybersex. I guess it would be possible to put together a group of enthusiasts for one's particular nerdy topic, but plain old text forums are so much better for that.

Re:Time sink (1)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746719)

Ryzom (Saga of Atys) has had such abilities for 2 years plus now...

Re:Time sink (2, Interesting)

Asklepius M.D. (877835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27751511)

Ryzom is a great illustration of the difficulty of launching "new" games. I started playing it recently (now that it's working again) and found it took a while for me to get out of the "WoW mindset" of powerleveling and instance running. It felt a little weird playing a game that is neither quest driven nor aimed at a neverending chain of instanced play. (And yes, I've done the EVE thing. I found it strategically interesting but tactically as much fun as watching paint dry.) Quite simply, games more complex to master than WoW have a nasty habit of failing the "Massive" part of MMORPG. Most people don't want to think that hard. This is analogous to walking down the board-games aisle at the local toy store. How many strategy games do you see (chess, Risk, etc)? Now how many games don't require a whit of strategic or tactical ability to play and win? The majority of the market does not want complexity. They want to be virtual superhumans without having to work at it to play well. Those of us who enjoy depth and complexity will always try to find it (think of what you've done to "improve" Monopoly) by setting up artificially difficult group makeups, playing with one virtual arm tied behind our backs, or simply refusing to play with anyone below a certain caliber (so much for "massive"). But the games that have the potential to hold our interest rarely survive long due to a small playerbase and the pressure on the manufacturer to "improve" the game by catering to the masses. As for me? WoW has been deleted. EvE is waning. Here's hoping Ryzom gets some polish (and some players).

Re:Time sink (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747465)

What I'm really waiting for, and I'm really amazed it didn't surface yet, is some sort of "Web 2.0 MMO". I.e. an MMO following the Web 2.0 creed, "you make the content, we make the revenue".

Raph Koster's a step ahead of you [areae.net] . That's exactly what he's spent the last couple of years working on, in the form of metaplace [metaplace.com]

Re:Time sink (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748399)

Not sure whether I believe the hype or not. No screenshots, not description, no fan sites. I recognize it is in beta, but what the hell is it.

Re:Time sink (2, Interesting)

dwye (1127395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27753725)

What I'm really waiting for, and I'm really amazed it didn't surface yet, is some sort of "Web 2.0 MMO". I.e. an MMO following the Web 2.0 creed, "you make the content, we make the revenue".

Minions Of Mirth lets any premium player design his/her own realm or realms, and even set up their world as its own server. There were a number of such, for a while. Gradually, they died off, because the main world was better (and professionally hosted). OTOH, the long promised upgrade was (is being?) worked upon by a group of player/volunteers, after the original two programmers decided they needed an actual income to live upon, after a few years of running the company.

The problem is that all the things needed to create an MMO are difficult to do, together. One needs to be an author able to link multiple sides together (like Tolkein except with an orc's view, as well) while being a CGI modeler, and avoid the tendency to just Monty Haul everything, since putting the game on steroids is more enjoyable for users, right up until they get sick of it (look at post-Strike Major League Baseball).

Blizzard can get it reasonably right because they have an actual company, with actual people paid actual money to get it right, and enough so that burned-outs can be replaced without killing the development team. Also, they have a decent business model and price point, especially vs. one-time-fee MMOs, so they can ride out new-player droughts.

Re:Time sink (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27753975)

The MMO Ryzom added user created content with the Ryzom Ring [ryzom.com] update back in 2006.
 

RL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755893)

I believe it's called RL.. You can pay money to play, and can even get real jobs to earn money!

Wether it's open source or not remains to be seen... ;)

The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27744223)

The whole point of an MMO is to be, in fact, massively multiplayer. Playing an upstart game without any players isn't fun at all, which is why people flock to large games like World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. The more "MMOs" companies try to push out, the more the user base will be diluted, thinning out each game until they all starve to death due to lack of players.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (4, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744417)

You could say the same thing about real-world dance clubs. Lots of people think they know what a good one should look like, customers are only interested in coming if they can expect a nice sized crowd (not too crowded, but not too empty), and new ones open all the time. As an industry, dance clubs have survived this model for quite a while.

If MMOs starve to death, it will be because people got bored with them, not because mass entertainment only works with limited options available.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746173)

The hard part is reaching and maintaining that critical mass. You see this with a lot of FPS servers. Most of the servers you see are either within a few players of capacity or completely empty. You don't find too many people playing on a server with only a handful of others. I've seen servers just suddenly empty when numbers drop below about 2/3 of capacity. It's like suddenly everyone decides the server is dying and they just move on to a new one.

If the same psychology applies to MMOs they're going to have to work hard to keep people coming back.

Everquest (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746493)

The hard part is reaching and maintaining that critical mass. You see this with a lot of FPS servers. Most of the servers you see are either within a few players of capacity or completely empty. You don't find too many people playing on a server with only a handful of others. I've seen servers just suddenly empty when numbers drop below about 2/3 of capacity. It's like suddenly everyone decides the server is dying and they just move on to a new one.

If the same psychology applies to MMOs they're going to have to work hard to keep people coming back.

Usually when a server empties like that, it's due to one person starting a GCH (Game Changing Hack). Like "Cartillery" in BF2. It can destroy a server, and people will not come back for hours.

As for MMO's, I play Everquest (hence Anonymous Coward, I mean seriously, who plays EQ anymore?). I like EQ more than WoW or EQII because I can play allied with any other player, it's a huge amount of space to run in, and when I can get a group together it's a ton of fun.

EQ is old, they are trying to keep a fanbase enthusiastic, with their most recent addition of mercenaries (allies you can buy if a "Looking for Group" goes unanswered). But they keep people coming back, because it's fun, you can roll anything and play with anyone.

So why do people coming back to an old game that is Everquest? The quests? Very few of the quests provide decent equipment, little experience and almost no money (90% of the items my Pally equips these days are from Mob drops or crafted), so lets strike the "Quest" out of Everquest as the reason it's fun and popular.

The graphics? The graphics in Everquest are old and look like crap, you can't argue that point.

The fun? It comes from having 16 playable races that can group together. From having to avoid some cities because they don't like you. It comes from community members giving stuff away these days (If you need something, send out a shout, you would be surprised how many people are willing to help someone who is courteous.

EQ2 just isn't as fun, neither is WoW IMHO.

Just my little rant about EQ.

Re:Everquest (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746871)

Usually when a server empties like that, it's due to one person starting a GCH (Game Changing Hack). Like "Cartillery" in BF2. It can destroy a server, and people will not come back for hours.

Oh, sure, I've seen people clear out because of hacks but the servers I play on generally have pretty active admins. Hackers are rarely a reason for the server to clear out where I play. People get kicked/banned/reported or votebanned before they annoy anyone to the point that the server is ruined.

EQ reminds me of a similar story I have about SubSpace (Continuum). I come back to that game every year and a half or so and I always get addicted to it all over again. It's simple to pick up, tough to master and the community is quite fun. It's been around since the 90's and it's still one of my favorite games of all time. It was massively multiplayer using dial-up modems long before MMO became part of the gamer vernacular.

Re:Everquest (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27778169)

haha subspace, biggest shit talking community in history. Amazing game... though SSCV (or whatever standard subspace rules) zones never hit critical mass enough for me to ever enjoy it like it was back in its hey day, or i'd be on it everyday... Give me back t-20 battles, please!

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747541)

Dance clubs get people laid. Not sure you can say the same thing about World of Warcraft.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747981)

Actually I'd say you'd be pretty surprised just how many people have hooked up via that game.

I wont say anything about the quality of potential partners or said unions, but I've got a good few mates that have found partners in online games (some now married, others long since declared glaring mistakes) and read about many others.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27750397)

Dance clubs are a crappy choice for comparison.

Why? Permanence. You might prefer permanence in a dance club, but you don't *need* it. It only needs to exist on a per-event basis for you to enjoy it.

MMOs on the other hand are *all about* permanence. If MMOs are born and die too fast, then you never get to see the endgame (or even some of the midgame) content for any of them. None of your stuff carries over from game to game, and probably not much of your social contacts carry over either, yet persistent stuff and persistent social contacts are what make MMOs different from other games.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746211)

And that's why MMOs often shrink down to "least common denominator". Take a look around at some of the more interesting and envelop-pushing MMOs: Aside of EvE, they all eventually died.

Usually what's left are MMOs that are easy to learn, fairly easy to master, don't require a lot of "point distribution", or at least don't offer a lot of variety, one setup that's good (and can be looked up easily) and forget about being creative. Gameplay has to be easy (point and click interface, the easier the better), graphics have to be cute and colorful, crafting has to be pointlessly easy.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746325)

Lets have a TV Channel analogy then. When I was a kid we got something like 12 or so stations, all pretty standard and because I am in Canada, they were a mix of the 2 Canadian stations and the rest were from the US. TV show quality was sometimes pretty "meh", but I enjoyed a few programs immensely. There were some well written TV show that had decent budgets and starred decent actors. Now maybe its just be being a curmudgeon, but in the world of 250+ stations, I think the overall quality of the average TV show hasn't merely dropped, its plummeted. What we are left with is pap for the sheeple that is cheap and quick to produce - witness the success of shows like Survivor or all the Talent show knockoffs. Reality TV represents the new formula for success because it costs a lot less to produce. When 250 stations are trying to survive off the income from advertising that used to fuel dozens of them, the quality has to be diluted somehow. So we have more ads per hour, a lot of the same ads being spammed continuously, and lower quality TV shows that focus on things that don't require actual actors (or at least actors of any quality), scripts, sets, etc as the bulk of TV production. Of course there are still good, well thought out dramas, comedies etc, but they are rarer by far. Now, diluting the MMO jungle may result in one or two products that come from nowhere and prove to be immensely popular. Providing greater variety may help diversify the industry and shake up the standard conventions - but its more likely we are going to get Reality TV - low cost, low quality games that only appeal to a very small audience and never really prove successful.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746675)

Good point, and this can be a problem for upstarts. But beyond a few thousand players per server, most established MMOs put up multiple shards, and the world is not more populated than if you have a newcomer with 10k subscribers, all on one server.
The big exception I know is EvE Online. That MMO actually has all players on one server, often with more than 40,000 simultaneous log-ins.

Re:The key part of MMOs is the "MM" part. (2, Informative)

Hythlodaeus (411441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746861)

Expected population should be addressed in the design of game areas. When you have a small userbase, you can provide lots of space for adventuring, but you need to concentrate players for socialization and trade. UO failed to realize this as it added new continents in every other expansion even while the player count was dwindling. WoW knew what it was doing when it kept auction houses out of the expansion continents.

Stupid, Stupid. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744265)

Going with "tried and true" IP may or may not be worth it(you'd have to balance cost of hit IP, which isn't cheap, vs. cost of creating and promoting something new); but going with a "tried and true" gameplay formula seems like utter suicide. Big game publishers have something of a reputation for preferring mediocrity, but it seems stupid even by their standards.

To a fair degree, MMOs are subject to network effects. Friends on the server, social ties through guilds, corporations, etc. buzz, people writing online resources/guides, and so forth. Thus(barring gross mismanagement, failure to scale, or other sins on the part of the incumbent) the current leader, which is to say WoW, will automatically be superior to any new challenger using a "tried and true", which is to say derivative, gameplay model. Incremental improvements aren't going to cut it. In single player games, this is less of an issue, so you can often get away with it there.

Novel gameplay models are quite risky, to be sure; but they are the only realistic alternative. The problem is, on average any new MMO is going to get crushed by WoW. Any "tried and true" model MMO is going to have roughly average performance, which means that it is dead on arrival. A novel model MMO has a better chance of delivering other-than-average performance. It'll probably be below average, which makes it deader on arrival; but it might also be above average, which would give it a chance of survival.

2000lb gorilla (4, Insightful)

acehole (174372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744323)

The problem with a lot of upcoming MMOs is that they try their best to best WoW in size, spouting about how many servers they have. How much content they're going to have, while saying "we're not interested in how WoW does things, we do it our way." Its a lie, they want to be wow and whether its conscious or not they fall into the 'trying to be wow' trap.

You can't beat wow by being a better wow. Beat wow by being a better game.

If you build it, subscribers will come. If you build it and try to be like wow, you'll be merging servers in under a month.

Re:2000lb gorilla (2, Interesting)

acehole (174372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744343)

additional:

also, why not be satisfied with a niche market. Why aim for wow's 70-something percent of the market?

Re:2000lb gorilla (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744557)

For the same reason that no gold miner was ever content with making a modest living as a merchant...because everyone dreams of the BIG strike.

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

Yaur (1069446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745833)

see eGenesis

Re:2000lb gorilla (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746275)

You try to impress a VC with "yeah, well, we don't wanna dethrone WoW, we just wanna make a good game that gets, hopefully, about 5% market share..."

Re:2000lb gorilla (2, Informative)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746797)

Get involved with VC's and you're already screwed. Either you fail and they sue you, or you succeed and find they were the backers behind behind the law firm the assured you that the VC's contract was fair and legit, get turfed out on your ear and sued if you ever open your mouth about it or attempt to make a career in any related field again..

Re:2000lb gorilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788763)

That's pretty funny and flat-out wrong.

I raised money from VCs to build MMOs and we would be THRILLED with a 5% market share. The VCs would make bank on their investment and we'd all be wearing money hats.

Re:2000lb gorilla (2, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744381)

If you build it, subscribers will come. If you build it and try to be like wow, you'll be merging servers in under a month.

Truth. Whenever I hear the latest up-and-comers claim how much better they're going to be and how the hype claims it will kill WoW, I smirk and expect that game to hit the liquidation discount bin within the next six months. History has yet to prove me wrong.

Re:2000lb gorilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27744985)

If you build it, subscribers will come. If you build it and try to be like wow, you'll be merging servers in under a month.

Truth. Whenever I hear the latest up-and-comers claim how much better they're going to be and how the hype claims it will kill WoW, I smirk and expect that game to hit the liquidation discount bin within the next six months. History has yet to prove me wrong.

Why would they even be in the bargain bin? If it's a failed MMOG, then there's not much use for the game client when the servers have all shut down.

Re:2000lb gorilla (5, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744711)

Ultimately, I think WoW may actually be bad for the development of MMOs as a genre. So long as WoW controls so much of the market, it's going to be nearly impossible for new MMOs, especially from smaller companies or based on original IP, to get any traction.

When it comes to MMOs, they face a chicken and egg problem (or maybe chicken and chicken problem would be more accurate), players won't join if there are no (or very few) other players. You need players to get [more] players. And when most of your potential players are in WoW, what do you do to pry them away?

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745437)

I don't see that as a problem that will go away. Even if WOW folded tomorrow, one or a few other games would dominate the MMO market. New games have to compete on something other than raw numbers of players. That's what the original poster spoke of.

Re:2000lb gorilla (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746429)

WoW is certainly not beneficial for MMO development, but not because of its sub numbers, but because of VC expectations. 5 years ago, before WoW was launched, getting 200k subs in a year was already great. Today, it's a reason to fold.

The 70% market share of WoW don't hurt the other games too much. Sure, the big players of their time lost subs, but they were reaching their life expectance anyway. WoW hit the market right when the market needed something. But their often toutet 70% market share are to a sizable portion, and I'm wagering 80% here, subs that didn't exist before, not subs "stolen" from other games. 4 of 5 WoW players didn't play an MMO before.

What really hurts new games are expectations. The "must be like WoW" mantra that's chanted throughout the marketing halls. So every single game that comes out looks like a cheap (or rather, expensive) WoW knockoff. Sometimes so blatant that it outright hurts.

And as it has been stated before, you CANNOT make the new WoW. Do you remember what WoW was like when it was launched? 2 days per week almost assured downtime. A good 30% of quests that either didn't work, weren't finishable under certain conditions or were simply impossible unless you were a specific class. And let's not start about balancing. A game that was started like this today would meet the bargain bin 2 months after release (at the same time, their servers are merged down to 4-6), and a year later it's closing time.

In a nutshell, do not try to beat WoW on their own game. You cannot. You would have to sink YEARS of development into it, polish it to the point that WoW is today after almost a decade of development and millions of gametesters (who also pay to do the work). Make another game. And most of all, aim lower! If you cannot survive on 200k subs, don't do it at all. If it takes off like WoW, great. But don't hope for it or, worse, outright require it.

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746595)

And as it has been stated before, you CANNOT make the new WoW. Do you remember what WoW was like when it was launched? 2 days per week almost assured downtime. A good 30% of quests that either didn't work, weren't finishable under certain conditions or were simply impossible unless you were a specific class. And let's not start about balancing. A game that was started like this today would meet the bargain bin 2 months after release (at the same time, their servers are merged down to 4-6), and a year later it's closing time.

That's actually what I was just about to post. The uphill battle is not against WoW's customer base, but its years of polish. It didn't even have a raid UI at launch, it was a mess by the standard it now sets. There have been multiple games with competitive initial sales that become ghost towns in the second month because people aren't willing to put up with the growing pains when they have games like WoW, EQ2, CoH, etc that have had years to refine their product into playable form. I have a pretty large group of friends that have been playing since EQ and take a shot at almost every major release but always end up returning to other games pretty quickly for this reason.

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754477)

"5 years ago, before WoW was launched, getting 200k subs in a year was already great. Today, it's a reason to fold."

This is an important point. Everquest peaked at around 500,000 subscribers. Many successful games of the time such as City of Heroes had numbers a lot less than that. Everquest was the monster MMO at the time.
WoW expanded the number of players in the MMO market significantly - particularly in the US and European markets. The truth is a lot of these people are just WoW players. Most of them have never played another MMO. I do meet quite a few that leave WoW usually for another MMO such as Guild Wards or Conan only to end up returning after a few months. The same goes with players leaving WoW and then returning on the expansion release dates.
Trying to outdo WoW on its turf is probably pointless. Trying to do what WoW did and get new players who haven't played a MMO before interested in your game might be a better idea.

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

darpo (5213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745591)

You can't beat wow by being a better wow. Beat wow by being a better game.
If you build it, subscribers will come.


Your advice is far too vague to be useful.

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746593)

i like people trying to be a better wow because they come up with ideas sometimes and wow will implement the good ones in the next patch making ma wow better :o and they siphon off the players in wow no one really likes that much anyway.

Re:2000lb gorilla (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748311)

What would really shake up the market is another big player with deep pockets AND creativity to spare came up with a new IP.

Such as.. I don't know... Valve?

Sure they're famous for FPSs, but that doesn't mean they cant branch out. After all, Blizzard was famous for RTS before WoW.

Will it happen? Probably not.

Wow is still #1 (1)

ITJC68 (1370229) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744385)

Until someone comes up with the next MMO with the depth of World of Warcraft it will remain in first place. As a player of the game I enjoy the world events and achievement system. You have other things to do besides grinding for levels. Plus some of the people (I stress the word some) are really nice people who enjoy the game and are willing to help out new players. I am in the middle of that as a player of less then 1 year but I help out new players as I can. The only drawback is the time it can take to get to the end game content. With all the different races you can create a different character and the story lines are different until you go "out in the world" then things become more familiar.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744451)

You have other things to do besides grinding for levels.

The only drawback is the time it can take to get to the end game content. With all the different races you can create a different character and the story lines are different until you go "out in the world" then things become more familiar.

Take no offense in this, but I hate people like you. ;) Why do you feel the absolute need to "grind levels" and "get to the end game content"? Why not just enjoy the alternate story lines, take in the local environment, quests, and enjoy the unfamiliar?

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

HasselhoffThePaladin (1191269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744749)

I think a lot of people feel the way you do on their first character. That's how I was with my first roll. I even looked for guilds that regularly ran Vanilla WoW raids so that I could get all of the story in before starting in on Burning Crusade content.

After not finding any of those guilds on my server, I just continued to level. Once you're at max level, or at least approaching it, you'll probably join a guild with a goal to tackle some end-game content.

Then you realize that your guild needs another tank, so you take it upon yourself to roll one and power-level the shit out of it to get to where you and your friends need it.

Your priorities just change, is all.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746601)

"Why do you feel the absolute need to "grind levels" and "get to the end game content"?"

Because killing 20 fishmen because Marduk the mercilous says it's the only way he'll stop his horde from rampaging feels about the same as kill 20 pigmen because Glinda the swell says she needs pig bladders to mix the potion that will save the village.

Both are just meaningless bits of text. You can kill the 20, or not, and nothing in the world will change.

However, there is some fun in gaining new abilities. That way you can more creatively kill the 20 duckmen...or was it pigs...whatever. But at least you got more buttons to push, whatever the text says.

So let's turn this around. Why not give all of us the buttons to push at start. Then those of you who enjoy reading mindless walls of text can go ahead and enjoy it. You can even refrain from pushing individual buttons until you feel you've earned them through that amazing storyline that you so enjoy. Why are you so determined to force those of us looking for greater tactical challenge to slog our way through walls of text first?

-Jeff

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747101)

Personally, I feel MMOs are designed wrong in the first place. Skills should be obtained by playing the game and completing the events and areas. Guild Wars had a feature of skill learning where you had to fight the monsters that used those skills to learn from it. It was crude, but if implemented well, could open up a wide assortment of game play.

Personally, I'd love to have an MMO that you started off a blank character and had to gain your skills by adventuring, training at the local guilds or finding ancient texts for your skill-ups. I'd make unique mobs all over the world that cast different spells, used different melee techniques and required that you spend an extensive amount of time learning from them if you wanted your character to be proficient in the skill.

If you wanted to blow through all the content to get to the "end-game" content you could, but someone that spent time to learn the skills, utilize them and get the most out of an area should be far better suited in late game tactics (if there were such a thing) Technically you could create infinite amounts of content using this structure by simply making some defensive skills more powerful than offensive skills trained in an area beforehand. You could progress the player through difficulty levels of the game without levels by only allowing them to defeat monsters that they have proficient skill to do so.

Rewarding players for simply leveling is what drives people to want to get all the levels and all the skills. They'll do it at the cost of content and in the locations that serve them best.

Re:Wow is still #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766501)

You just described Ultima Online: The Second Age (Pre-WoW ultima online, circa 1998)

In my opinion, MMO's have regressed quite a bit since then.

Wow is still #1, because (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27744455)

it is the lowest common demoniator.
It's telling sign of the intelectual state of the US that in China the statistical physics and noncommutative harmonic geometry MMORPG Xhing Phu Rin Ding Ding is much more popular than WoW.

Guess who will be economy no. 1 in 10 years ?

Re:Wow is still #1, because (1)

Yert (25874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746093)

Got a link? Google says "no results" [google.com] .

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744723)

If depth was what it took to be number one, WoW wouldn't be king.

WoW is very well polished, easily accessible, fun for the casual gamer, and... well... it carries the Blizzard-tag. This is what makes it hugely succesful.

Vanguard, EQ and more offer more depth than WoW (and a much MUCH longer grind to end-game content), but it turns out this is not really what the majority wants.

WoW became succesful by catering to the non-MMO-crowd. Back when I was active on EQ, they boasted subscriber-counts in the 400K-range. If an MMO is trying to go new ways and follow their individual visions for what a persistant online world should act like, this number would probably be a fair target for a "huge succes".
To reach the 12 million mark, you need a game tuned for maximum fun and ease of availability for everyone, along with the serious market impact of having noteable display stand posted in every major game retailer, and some celebreties like Ozzy Osbourne and Patrick Stewart advertising your game on national TV.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745051)

You haven't even tried any other MMOs, have you?

Many of them have achievement systems and world events. Many of them are deeper than WoW, and many have less of a grind.

The reason WoW is on top is because Blizzard programmers are top-notch. Their games are polished to perfection and brilliantly designed to induce addictive response. Because of that, Blizzard has a huge, ravenous fanbase which enabled them to start their game out strong.

It's not because WoW is a better game than other MMOs. It's because there are gamers who revere Blizzard and don't look at other games. Blizzard has earned that kind of loyalty...but there is the sad question of what other games could have been great, if people would only have noticed them.

Re:Wow is still #1 (3, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746095)

That's just your opinion. I don't worship Blizzard. I was very resistant to even trying WoW since I was playing another MMO at the time. In any case, WoW being a grind makes me think that you haven't played other MMOs. Compared to EQ, FFXI, and the other MMOs from the time, it pretty much blew them away for reducing the grind. You could now level to max level in a reasonable amount of time without having to get a party to help you level.

As far as other MMOs, it is purely a matter of taste. I tried Eve. If you like PvE combat, that game is a total grind. You fly in to a mission, make your ship fly towards somewhere you can dock in case you get in trouble, and hit f1-f6. Then fly for a long time until things are dead. Then fly to a gate to do the next part. When you are done, get in to another ship and fly around a long time to pick up the loot. PvP would be great if you didn't have to find other people to group with to survive and then sit at gates for hours. Warhammer is fun, but the PvE is severely lacking compared to WoW. It was more like playing TF2 with a subscription fee. After running the same BGs over and over to level, it gets boring. World PvE is a little better but still wasn't exciting.

Obviously, these are my opinions. Other people might love these games. But I do think WoW is a better MMO than the rest because it has the best PvE which is what I enjoy. But just because you don't think WoW is better, doesn't mean that the 12 million playing don't have that opinion or haven't tried other games.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747121)

I didn't say that you worshipped Blizzard. It was the huge number of Blizzard worshippers that gave their game a huge initial population, which lured in more people. MMOs live and die by their first year, and that's when Blizzard's followers gave them an immense advantage.

I did say that you didn't seem to have tried any other games. Glad I was mistaken, there. I haven't tried Warhammer myself, but I agree with you about Eve. I play City of Heroes, which is as deep and grind-free as WoW, if not even better by those metrics. (But CoH has dated graphics. You can't beat Blizzard for polish.) I've heard that EQ2 is as deep as WoW, and Age of Conan had potential. But those games are ghost towns because all of the players are on WoW...because that's where the people are...because that's where a lot of people started.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27749073)

I am not the OP, so I wasn't really thinking your comments were specifically meant towards me. He might not have tried other games.

I agree that there are a lot of people who love Blizzard games and that helped them get that initial fan base. But Blizzard has actually earned their fans by consistently putting out very good, very polished games.

I think there is a huge market for a WoW-killer. A lot of people are tired of it. AoC is a great example. People flocked to the game but it was incomplete and not very well thought out. So people ran right back to WoW because it is flat out a better game. The trick is that WoW has been getting better and better with each patch. How is a game at release going to compare with a game that has been polished so hard that even the polish has polish? The game out of the gate has to be near perfect or people will just run back to WoW. I don't know how anyone could do that. Even if Blizzard came up with World of Starcraft, I don't think it could compete. I know someday WoW will have to be dethroned or wither away. I just can't see it happening in the near future.

I get what you are saying, and I think I misunderstood a bit about your first post. I can understand how people get sick of WoW. My argument is that really it is just a fundamentally better game than the others and that is why it does so well. And because MMOs are so hard to create, I can't see anything being able to take its place unless they do something really weird like completely change every aspect of the game (like SWG did).

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754587)

"I play City of Heroes, which is as deep and grind-free as WoW"

CoH grind free? What? I don't know how much as changed but I consider repeatedly running randomly generated instance mission maps with one of 4 possible overall type (kill all, escort, click things or kill boss) pretty grind-oriented. Hopefully they've done away with XP debt by now a mechanic that did nothing except increase the need to grind.
Level 40-50 was an excruciating grind only mediated to a degree by overpowered classes ability to pull entire mission maps and kill them off.
City of Villains did a bit better on the story quests but its still a very grind intensive game.
Don't get me wrong, I like City of Heroes a lot, I just found it to be very grind oriented.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27775735)

I have not played CoH, but the instance maps of type "kill boss" sound similar to WoW endgame content of constantly raiding dungeons to kill bosses in hopes of attaining epic loot. Guilds spend weeks farming dungeons and bosses to deck their mains in greens/purples/magentas all so they can...farm the next dungeon for oranges/maroons/aquamarines. Lather, rinse, repeat. To me, farming is grinding.

Re:Wow is still #1 (1)

bdenton42 (1313735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747151)

You haven't even tried any other MMOs, have you? Many of them have achievement systems and world events. Many of them are deeper than WoW, and many have less of a grind.

I've played City of Heroes/Villains and D&D Online in the past, and currently play WoW. I guess I would have to see what you mean by "deeper"... it seems that term would be purely subjective. WoW has five times the content of the other two games put together (at least that was true prior to the City of Heroes "Architect" update). The Heroes/Villains series content is certainly no more deep than WoW (go kill this boss and anything else that gets in your way) and up until "architect" you basically had one line of stories that you reran for every single alt you created. In D&D Online the content was much more complicated, but at the same time there was very little of it (~200 dungeons in all) so even your main spent a lot of time repeating dungeons.

The reason WoW is on top is because Blizzard programmers are top-notch. Their games are polished to perfection and brilliantly designed to induce addictive response. Because of that, Blizzard has a huge, ravenous fanbase which enabled them to start their game out strong.

All games which have any kind of achievement / favor system turn out to be addictive to those who are into that kind of thing (City had badges, lots of badges; D&D had favor which granted various rewards). But where WoW had me was that from day one the game ran like it was actually written with performance in mind... polished in a programming sense. I was able to load, login, choose a character and be ready to move in-game in the time it took D&D online to get to the login screen.

It's not because WoW is a better game than other MMOs. It's because there are gamers who revere Blizzard and don't look at other games. Blizzard has earned that kind of loyalty...but there is the sad question of what other games could have been great, if people would only have noticed them.

I disagree. Plenty of people try out other games, and come back to WoW because the other games just don't measure up at all. I went the other way... came to WoW from a couple other games and never went back. The biggest problem for new MMOs is that WoW has raised the bar on the MMO market, and it means your game actually has to have something compelling and woe to the game that flubs their launch (Conan).

some change, please (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27744979)

As someone who is testing out lots and lots of games, I'm tired of the "WOW formula". Been there, done that, thank you.

There is a small number of interesting twists that I quite like, but no one game has dared to deviate much, so far. I like the addition of a second "game mode" where you can use a ship (space or sea, depending on genre) in addition to land-based missions, for example. Several titles have tried themselves in that area, some good.
I also like different advancement schemes, classless etc. Very few good implementations of those.
And I like different game concepts, like EVE (ruthless PvP, stop whining because it's all fair game) or A Tale In The Desert (no combat, just a social and building game).

But, only a tiny fraction of MMOs think they can do without the mindless grinding that's come to define the genre. Very few deviate from the usual "class, levels and crafting things" formula, though many succeed in covering it up somewhat and painting it differently.

I'm really looking forward to stuff like the GTA MMORPG that may or may not be in the works, for example. Things that have the potential to break with the real fundamental concepts of MMOs. In the end, if you call if "skills" or "abilities" doesn't make much difference. But an MMO without grinding, that I would try, just to see it.

And yes, I'm posting as an avid gamer who nevertheless has other things to do and other games to play. I simply can't and don't want to put in the time investment that's necessary to be anyone with all the current major MMOs.

A different MMO (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745133)

If you are looking for something totally different from WoW, check out Darkfall.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkfall [wikipedia.org]

It is a full-loot, FFA PvP ruleset created by people who missed the old days of Ultima Online pre-Trammel.

It is the creation of a small (very small) developer who self-published (online-only distro), so it does have its issues.

IMHO an impressive achievement for such a small developer.

Other MMOs (1)

rivendahl (220389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745897)

I prefer Guild Wars. It's a one time subscription fee that's getting lower over time. Currently, you can spend $20 to get the core game. I own all of campaigns and play them like a casual game. I don't want xp, material, or gold grinding. I want a compelling environment and story that doesn't hold me back because I didn't reach level X.

Besides, I tried WoW and didn't like it. I like Blizzard. I love the Diablo series (mostly because it was unapologetic about being hack and slash, though I'm usually a fan of hack and slash). I thought WC was ok, and SC was pretty darn cool. I can't wait for D3; that's gonna be awesome.

BTW: GW just celebrated 4 years, updated tons of content (though I'm concerned about the rather large "micro" payments for some of it), and have surpassed 6 million units sold. I don't know how that translates into active players though. Plus, they just went live on Steam with all three main campaigns for $50.

Just my $.02 (the non Verizon math 2 cents).

Re:Other MMOs (1)

rivendahl (220389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745935)

Correction:

(mostly because it was unapologetic about being hack and slash, though I'm usually a fan of hack and slash)

(mostly because it was unapologetic about being hack and slash, though I'm usually a NOT fan of hack and slash)

Re:Other MMOs (1)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747365)

I really feel that the no subscription model that Anet and NCsoft are following with Guild Wars is the only real way to keep a large player base. I played WoW for a few months, and though I enjoyed it, I felt like, seeing as I was paying to play, that I HAD to play. At end game, it wasn't even fun, it was more of a job, 4 hours of a raid that would result in 3 wipes at some boss. "Oh good job people we got him down to 42% tonight" ....

what?

Took me all of about 1 month between that and the limited time on EVERYTHING, wanna craft?, 72 hour cooldown, wanna run this instance? 1 week cool down... If I'm paying to play don't make it so I can only play once every week or 3 days. That's just a ripoff.

Anyhow, back to the main point...I think one of the reasons that Guild Wars is still a viable option is that you can throw the game down at any time, come back to it when you want, and not have to worry about shelling out money just to be able to log in and look around at new content from time to time.

With Guild Wars 2 on the far horizon, supposedly incorporating a lot of WoW type gameplay with no level cap and most importantly, no godawful monthly fees to play....I think its a possibility you may see the first real challenge to the MMORPG throne in the making.

AS A GLOBAL AGENDA ALPHA TESTER... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746403)

...I must say that I am not that impressed, yet. Although they have been updating the game often, and the combat is starting to be fleshed out, it is not what most people seem to think it will be. It isn't going to be planetside 2, not by a long shot.

It feels more like Unreal tournament combined with Guild Wars or Diablo at the moment -- people meet in "city" areas, make groups, and either go on PvE raids or play another group in a PvP game-- Base raids will allow you to capture areas on a hex board that gives your agency benefits.

So it isn't going to be a large, open world at all, if that is the impression that some of you got. I think it will end up playing very well, but I don't really think it will be worth a fee of 15 bucks a month.

A Tale in the Desert (1)

Vrallis (33290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747063)

A Tale in the Desert [atitd.com] definitely falls into the category of one of those fringe games. I played it for a few months back around the second Telling, and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately that particular telling progressed too slowly, and since then the population has dropped down too much for the game to have the same impact it once did.

What made WoW special was having such a huge population early on--the population itself, not what drew it in to begin with. I personally enjoyed doing 40-man raids and other activities in large groups, and it definitely gave the game a more epic feel. Unfortunately, between the move away from 40-man content and server transfers decimating my server's population, it was enough to make give up years of invested time and effort in the game.

I even did Warhammer for a while, hoping to re-live that first epic year or two of WoW, but between poor implementation of various aspects of the game plus server transfers destroying entire server populations, Mythic lost yet another customer.

Right now, I still play EVE. It seems to give me most of what I'm looking for. Deep down I still want to see the next WoW, the next truly epic high-population fantasy MMO, but I have no idea what (or when) that might be.

Don't like WoW or EQ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747091)

Play Mabinogi. It isn't WoW or Everquest. And there are a lot of people playing it. It makes money.

It's a cross between Ultima Online and Asian styled art.

Best Kept Secret: Eve Online (1)

praetorblue (1395623) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747309)

It's epic, highly polished, and there is no other MMO like it:

* 50k players online at the same time, on one server
* Sci-fi, not fantasy
* Real-time skill learning, not grinding
* Consequences for your actions
* The ability to take revenge for grievances
* Your own spaceship :)

Check this one out before some of the more obscure "up and coming" titles suggested here. I wish them well, but MOST new MMOs will fail. If you're just looking for something a little different, Eve Online is the way to go.

FWIW, I play many MMOs, usually a few different ones every couple months. Of all those I play, Eve Online is definitely the most unique. And no, I don't work for CCP :)

Re:Best Kept Secret: Eve Online (1)

lpp (115405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748411)

Um, calling EVE Online "a little different" from WoW would be like calling your mother "a little different" from a crack addled mugger. One will coddle you and protect you from yourself as long as you let them, the other ... not so much.

Re:Best Kept Secret: Eve Online (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27760321)

I want to play a SciFi MMO. Tried Eve, did not like it. Yeah, you get a ship, but you have no body, just a picture.
I want to fly to a planet and set up a mining outpost with Ion cannon emplacements.
I want story lines dealing with AI civil rights.
I want to load so many cyber implants into my avatar that he can carry a howitzer into battle but can only function for an hour away from an external power source.
I want a game that just is not Eve.

Re:Best Kept Secret: Eve Online (1)

OnomatopoeiaSound (1276560) | more than 5 years ago | (#27780127)

I totally agree with this. Shadowrun MMO anyone? Also, I think I heard somewhere that they were coming out with a Fallout MMO. Is this true? If so, I see this as possibly turning into something similar to what you were describing... though I've only played Fallout 3 so far so I don't know if the previous ones would fit.

Nice article (1)

NateE (247273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27753323)

Eurogamer almost always has quality writing. I'd also say that the analysis of the 4 MMOs is spot on. The Global Agenda gameplay videos speak for themselves.

Problem is the max I'm willing to spend per month (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27767419)

I'm only willing to spend ~$15 a month in MMORPG monthly fees, so that pretty much just leaves WoW (as occasionally my friends will all want to do something in WoW).

So if I do buy a new MMORPG, that gives me a month of play time, which doesn't seem worth it to me. So either all my friends need to move over to the new MMORPG, or it has to be free, or it has to be so good that it justifies an additional $180 per year (+game purchase price, +price of any addons already released).

Re:Problem is the max I'm willing to spend per mon (1)

heyitsjon (1544855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27780881)

I think we all could agree that WoW may not even be worth the $15 anymore. Alot of the newer content hardly matches what it used to be. A new MMO would definitely be worth the switch.
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