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Throwing Out the Rulebook For MMOs

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-as-soon-as-i-collect-these-twenty-wolf-pelts dept.

Games 245

MMORPG.com's Dana Massey asks about the possibility of throwing out the rulebook for MMOs, suggesting that the next blockbuster title in the genre will be one that ignores many of the features and conventions that have come to be standards over the years. Quoting: "Who said that MMOs require hot bars? Who proclaimed that it's not a proper MMO unless you have quests? Blizzard took a formula that almost all MMOs had been using for years and distilled it down to addictive perfection. Love or hate WoW, it's a polished, polished title. It's no coincidence that on hardcore MMO sites, like this one, WoW is not the most hyped or trafficked game around. It's not that it's bad, but veteran MMO players don't have the same love for it, simply because we've all seen some variation of it before. The WoW community has always been a bit apart from the larger MMO community. Based purely on the number of subscribers, WoW articles should statistically annihilate every other game on this site, but they don't. A huge percentage of people who truly love WoW, I've always believed, do not know or particularly care about this whole world of MMOs out there. They're WoW players and that's it."

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245 comments

No Love (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050607)

"They're WoW players and that's it"?

That's a laugh. I don't know anyone of the 20 or 30 people that play or have played WoW for thousands of hours that haven't tried out other MMORPGs - Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, EVE, a slew of free or freemium ones, etc. Some of them drifted away from WoW when it became clear blizzard really had no idea what it was doing with some of the classes (Spellcasting pushback wasn't balanced properly until about *three years* after WoW came out, for example), others drifted back when it became clear the problems with AoC and WAR were even worse than WoW's problems.

Essentially, it's the "mostly harmless" MMORPG. No love for WoW, but it's there, it's a relatively okay method for wasting some time online, and it's relatively well polished.

Re:No Love (2, Interesting)

AnonChef (947738) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050695)

Well you're on slashdot so your anecdotal sample is hardly typical of the world at large.

My anecdotal sample goes the other way, of the 10 or so wow players I know only one has played another MMO besides wow (everquest).

Re:No Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28050707)

I'm a WoW player, didn't play it for years after it came out because "I didn't play RPGs (and certainly not MMORPGs)". I now have almost two years of playtime behind me, got a few hundreds of hours wasted /played, and can honestly say I have so far never felt inclined to touch another MMORPG.

The reason WoW appeals to gamers like me, is that it is SO polished, that it is easy to forget yourself and get hugely invested into it. That investment is what keeps people away from other MMORPGs.

Therefore, I agree with TFA, the next MMORPG mainstream hit might just break all the rules, but it would then need to make sure it is MUCH more polished (at release) than anything that's ever come out in MMORPG land, and this includes WoW (which wasn't a shadow of what it is now at release), AoC, WAR or anything else.

Re:No Love (5, Informative)

N1AK (864906) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050713)

That's a laugh. I don't know anyone of the 20 or 30 people...

You can't dismiss an arguement (with any credibility) just because the statistically insignificant group of people you know don't fit a hypothesis.

But as we're going with personal examples, I know three groups of people in real life who play WoW. Not a single one of them has played a different MMO because they just aren't interested in gaming. WoW is a social and relaxation thing for them which they are fitting into an already busy life of working and/or looking after kids. This doesn't prove they are the norm, but I hope it at least shows that there are WoW players out there who really don't fit the /. view of typical gamers.

Re:No Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28051261)

Er, the argument was about WoW players not representing the "larger" MMO community.

The larger community is WoW players. The entire argument is shot. People who don't play WoW at all are the weirdos.

small community? (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051423)

You can't dismiss an arguement (with any credibility) just because the statistically insignificant group of people

wait a second, we are slash doters I thing we also fit into the same category of a group "statistically insignificant group of people"

my point, of everyone I know I am the only person who reads and posts here

Re:No Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28051427)

You're right. The six dead people I know didn't return as zombies, but that's a statistically insignificant sample to determine the likelihood of becoming a zombie after death...Oh wait, you don't actually care about a logical argument. The view of typical gamers isn't a /. view, but a premise that is true on its face. There is a near-constant market (keeping pace with the birth rate and market reach...like into a new country/region) that ensures that a large portion of WoW players play other MMOs.

Re:No Love (2, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051627)

Correct, it is statistically insignificant. You can't use your 6 data point anecdote to determine the likelihood of becoming a zombie after death. You have to use other evidence, like an absence of any records of anyone ever becoming a zombie after death anywhere in the world ever, and a lack of a known mechanism by which this might occur.

I don't know anything about WoW players, and don't care to know, but your beef with his logic is not valid.

Whether or not your position is correct, the argument that anecdotes are weak evidence is valid.

That's what I wondered about too (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050715)

That's what I wondered about too. Every time there was some [NEXT GAME] coming out soon, be it LOTRO, WAR, AOC, or even duds like D&D Online or Tabula Rasa or Vanguard, the guild chat was _full_ of disgruntled WoW players talking non-stop about how they're gonna move to it as soon as it launches and never look back. Then somehow they come back anyway.

Even the idea that WoW should annihilate the other games otherwise, is stupid. WoW may well be what keeps those other duds alive in the first place.

Last I've heard a statistic, the average player stayed on an MMO for 6 months. Sure, some stay for ever, but they're few. Some leave when the "free" month is over. But on the average, it was 6 months. Then they get bored and bugger off.

I'm betting that a lot of the customers of those other games are recycled ex-WoW players. People spend their months on WoW, get bored of doing the same raid again, get ideas like "meh, I wonder if WAR/LOTRO/EQ2/Whatever is any better."

Plus, look at the MMOG charts. Before WoW the western MMOs recycled the same pool of IIRC about a million players total. Each newcomer getting another 100,000 was visible in the others losing a total of 100,000. WoW increased that 10 times over night. And again, their players fall off and try other games too. (But actually keeping them, that's another problem.) In effect it increased the pool for a lot of "me too" MMOS from "whoever of those 500,000 EQ1 players gets bored and wanst to try something else" to "whoever of WoW's 10,000,000+ players gets bored and wants to try something else."

For a lot of the incompetent designers and incompetent publishers (I'm looking at you, Sony), WoW has been a windfall, not their doom.

At any rate, what I see there is the usual fanboy rationalization, except this time it's called an article.

Re:No Love (1)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050741)

Aye, I used to play Lineage before WoW, and City of Heroes when I quit WoW the first time.

I also played some game before WoW where you got to the max level and did this quest where you killed yourself and got reincarnated as this angelic type being with wings. If anyone remembers the title of this MMO, I'd appreciate a reply telling me! It was a neat game.

Re:No Love (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050845)

WoW is basically the least common denominator.

It's like when you go out with your friends. Some don't like pizza, or you can't agree on a topping, some don't like sushi, some don't like Mexican food, but in some way all can agree that burgers are kinda allright, so you go to some burger bar. It's not really what anyone really wanted, but it's something everyone can kinda stomach.

Re:No Love (2, Funny)

digibud (656277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050863)

I played WoW and that was it for MMO's. Now I'm a recovering WoW player. I know it will always be a struggle. I take it day by day. Living life without WoW. wow.

Re:No Love (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050961)

I think TFA is referring to people like me, who have played other MMOs and it's WoW that was the one that didn't interest me.

Why? For exactly the stated reasons, it was just more of the same, after having played Dark Age of Camelot for 5 years. I wanted something that actually brought something new to the table than the same dull old method of questing.

I played WAR a little longer than WoW but only by about a month, I found it to end up being largely the same.

The best MMOs I've ever played were Ultima Online and Planetside followed by DAoC - DAoC only because I'd never played the likes of EQ so that style of MMO with levels, quests and such was at that point new to me.

UO was very different in that you didn't have quests and you didn't have levels, you had 700 skill points and you'd choose what to fill them with, for example you might make a craftsman character with 100 points in tailoring, 100 points in woodwork, 100 in blacksmithing, 100 in tinkering, 100 in mining etc. but you could mix and match, you could make a warrior character that had 600 points spread across fighting skills then the last 100 split between 50 in magery and 50 in blacksmithing giving you just enough magic to use the teleport spell and just enough smithing to repair your armour for example. It also didn't have quests as such, you effectively made your own - you might decide to take a bunch of friends to the depths of the hardest dungeon to kill a big named demon, but you'd do it off your own back whenever you wanted. That demon might then drop some rare metal which could be used to barter with a blacksmith to make some decent armour or it might drop a treasure map so you could then go treasure hunting.

Planetside was different because it was an MM FPS basically, so not a lot needs to be said there.

The point is that, WoW, WAR, AoC, they're all following the same theme that DAoC and Everquest before them did and that's just boring now, most people who play an MMO stick with it for years but then leave only because they've been there, done that and got bored - creating games that are identical to those people are already bored of is not going to get you anywhere, this is why no one has succeeded in overthrowing WoW which got it's playerbase because previous identical MMOs such as DAoC failed miserably when it came to marketing, promotion etc. else they'd have likely caused the same thing to happen to WoW as WoW caused to happen to WAR - people wouldn't have bothered because it was just more of the same.

The MMO market absolutely does need variation, and anyone whose played MMOs over a longer period than just WoW will realise that the WoW recipe is both not new, and not special.

I believe if a UO style game was made today and given proper marketing it'd do immensly well simply because that style of MMO hasn't been done to any reasonable manner since UO itself - a game that's effectively a much freer open world, where people create their own quests, where people can walk up to a cliff face and mine where they want along the entire cliff face rather than at specific pre-defined points - UO simply wasn't ever as rigid.

I think this is what TFA means when it says they're just WoW players and that's it - WoW did an amazing job of hype, marketing and so on to pull first time MMO players in and this is by far the majority of their playerbase - first time MMO players and it is these people they're referring to when they say they're just WoW players and that's it because they've yet to experience anything else and find out that there's much more possibilities out there when it comes to MMOs, but you can't blame them for having this view when no MMO in recent years has done anything other than just copy WoW either.

Re:No Love (0)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051929)

Darkfall Online is that UO style game, only with FPS style gameplay (think Mount&Blade) and city building/sieging.

Re:No Love (1)

Domint (1111399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052205)

I might be the odd man out here, but I look at what you've said about UO and it's lack of predefined content as dulling it down. It makes the game inaccessible to the casual player - the ones that make up the majority of WoW's player base. The point of the quest chains in MMOs like WoW (I'd think) is to give players a reason to explore the world, otherwise they'd sit around in the highly populated zones bitching about there being nothing to do. The ones going out to explore & create their own content will do that anyway, as they are the more involved players. But they are not the norm, they are the exception. A game that requires that will put too much onus on the players to make the game enjoyable, and as such will have a much reduced player base.

Re:No Love (1)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051835)

I don't know anyone of the 20 or 30 people that play or have played WoW for thousands of hours that haven't tried out other MMORPGs - Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, EVE, a slew of free or freemium ones, etc

funny you don't mention any mmo's that came out before wow, or a regular rpg for that matter. I am guessing the folks you know wow is their first mmo or even RPG experience and trying the games you mention is more like looking for a new wow fix instead of a love for the genre. Otherwise you would have said my friends all played eq2 and Ultima, love the forgotten realms stuff and are looking foward to the new diablo(maybe). Anyways you just reinforced the point of the article I think..."They're WoW players and that's it". If a game that comes after wow isn't wow it better be damn close otherwise it is not worth the time amirite?

Re:No Love (3, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052275)

That's a laugh. I don't know anyone of the 20 or 30 people that play or have played WoW for thousands of hours that haven't tried out other MMORPGs - Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, EVE, a slew of free or freemium ones, etc.

Maybe because that is because you play WoW and don't encounter anyone who didn't come back.

I'm on a very large guild on Warhammer Online (1000+ members) and the concensus is that we don't like WoW. I mean it was good, but it had flaws for what most of us wanted in an MMO and that is why we are sticking with War.

There are many debates on vent about why say Conan failed or what Mythic could do better with Warhammer online, but not everyone wants to play that game for lots of different reasons. I think at least the WAR followers like the PvP and RvR which WoW has but pulls off rather poorly in some aspects in getting more than several hundred people onto the open battle field at the time.

Anyways, its really from your personal perspective of who says what. If you play WoW, you probaly didn't like WAR and if you are currently playing WAR there are reasons you aren't playing WoW.

On a side note... I've been reading some very interesting blogs about Darkfall Online [mmorpg.com] about the game politics and game mechanics. Perhaps when they release an North America server and iron out the bugs I'll take it for a spin.

Yah, no-one has thought of that before (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050619)

Look, there's literally thousands of MMOs now. 100% of them suck.. 1% of them suck less than the others.

Most all of them start with the "let's be different" mindset.. they quickly discover that there's a *reason* why things are the way they are.. much of that is technical, some of it is psychological (read: addictive) and the remainder is simply "what people are used to" and woe be to the man who tries to sell a product that people don't understand.

Re:Yah, no-one has thought of that before (0, Flamebait)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052231)

woe be to the man who tries to sell a product that people don't understand.

Yeah, look what happened to Apple when they tried to radically change the interface on portable music players. Poor bastards.

I agree with TFA. A few games've tried to do MMOs in fundamentally new ways. Look at the Kingdom of Loathing [kingdomofloathing.com] : While not anywhere near a WoW rival, it became successful enough to support a handful of full-time employees and has remained steady for years. You never know where a flash of inspiration will strike, and a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about MMOs.

yes the WoW community is different - (1, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050623)

- they have females, real ones.

Re:yes the WoW community is different - (3, Insightful)

AnonChef (947738) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050709)

Naaw.
They are just like me. If i'm going to stare at my avatars behind running around for hours on end I want it to be as pretty as possible.

Re:yes the WoW community is different - (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050787)

Maplestory has plenty of real girls too, it's a lot more cutesy and attractive than most (all?) MMOs

Re:yes the WoW community is different - (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051099)

And when you say "girls," you mean the under-15 type, right? ;) (It was really big with my 5th-9th graders a few years ago.)

Re:yes the WoW community is different - (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051157)

There were a lot of those, but the person that introduced me to the game is a year older than me (which would have made her around 23 at the time), and I made a couple of friends that were over 18 :P One of those girls actually had her whole family in her clan, including something like 50-60 year old aunts and uncles type thing, heh.

Re:yes the WoW community is different - (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052301)

Interestingly, so does LOTRO. Two of my 3 guilds in WoW were female run, and my LOTRO kin is as well. (Or was- leadership rotates between a couple of players, some married.) This also highlights the way around the "WoW formula"- you can have virtually identical mechanics but differentiate based on story and lore. There are a lot of Tolkien nerds out there, so LOTRO has a stable (if not WoW-huge) playerbase, a lot of whom are female.

At least from my experience, the female run guilds/kins work a *lot* better. Less drama, less tension.

Something larger than WoW? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28050639)

The WoW community has always been a bit apart from the larger MMO community

I don't think that word means what you think it means...

Re:Something larger than WoW? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050777)

WoW is big but it's not that big. If you wanted to restrict your viewpoint to the US then maybe you could claim the WoW population is bigger than the MMO community. If you include Europe at least though then that's no longer true. If you went and included Asia it'd be a joke to say WoW itself is larger than the entire MMO community.

Re:Something larger than WoW? (3, Informative)

gnalle (125916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050851)

Apparently WOW had 60% of the world market in april 2008. I think this number was meassured in players.

http://www.mmogchart.com/Chart7.html [mmogchart.com]
http://www.mmogchart.com/charts/ [mmogchart.com]

But I don't know if they have peaked now.

Re:Something larger than WoW? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051075)

The fact that is says "subscriptions" leads me to believe it grossly undercounts Asia, where I believe people pay hourly.

Re:Something larger than WoW? (1)

gnalle (125916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051287)

According to another chart on the site, 50% of all the active WOW subscriptions are asian, but I don't know how Bruce Woodcock defines an active subscription. http://www.mmogchart.com/Chart11.html [mmogchart.com] A rough summary is: 30% asian WOW subscriptions. 30% non-asian WOW-subscriptions 40% subscriptons to other games

Re:Something larger than WoW? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051109)

That's measured in subscriptions. The Asian market is more geared toward free play with premium items for sale. Those users won't be counted in a subscription survey.

Re:Something larger than WoW? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051215)

It would be really hard to make an accurate comparison between a subscription rpg and free to play+premium content rpg.

Re:Something larger than WoW? (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052299)

It would be really hard to make an accurate comparison between a subscription rpg and free to play+premium content rpg.

What's wrong with average simultaneous players?

MMO FPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28050645)

I just want an MMO FPS. Free for all on a larger scale. Is that so hard..

Re:MMO FPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28051351)

It's been done.

Reasons, reasons (3, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050651)

Hotbars came about for a reason.

Have any of you played Ultima Online that didn't specifically stress using a hotbar? It was difficult. There was a lot of macroing, a lot of memorization of keys, etc. Really took away from the immersion.

With hotbars, you know where your favorite skills are. You can pretty much set the keyboard up as you like, in terms of your skills.

Can we do better? Yes, but not with conventional keyboard/mouse/monitor devices.

What about some of the other typical things found in most MMORPGs?

Levels? Ultima Online did just fine without them. All it had was stats and skills, and you just needed to practice what you wanted to get better at. This was a good system, I think. Not for everyone though.

Health/Mana/Etc? Warhammer Online did an excellent job with these. They all regenerated very quickly. In essence, you could technically fight forever as long as your health held out. Your mana with which to cast spells came back quickly enough to cast over and over, but not quickly enough to cast the best things over and over.

Quests? Not everyone likes to grind enemies for a long time. However, not everyone likes to quest. Rappelz had a good idea. Lots and lots of traditional quests, and lots and lots of kill quests. This satisfied both types of player.

One-player control? Sword of the New World, I believe, let you control multiple characters that you had created.

Real-time play? Actually, a turn-based combat MMORPG would be nice. Think something along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics during battle.

Point is, there's lots of things you COULD change. But most of the things are there for reasons. World of Warcraft is the best at the moment because it learned from everyone elses' mistakes. It also learned from their successes. World of Warcraft is the MMORPG analogue to the Borg from Star Trek.

Re:Reasons, reasons (2, Insightful)

drik00 (526104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050681)

On the topic of the necessity of quests/questing in an MMO,

I think an interesting example to look at was Star Wars: Galaxies... They tried an almost completely free sand-box style of play, and had arguably the best theme for an MMO ever, and it totally sucked. Once you'd visited all the places from the movies, and seen the characters, there was nothing to do. It was too much like real life. You could go into business for yourself, buy a house, get involved in community politics, and live out a life vicariously .... with nothing to do. The quests were a joke, the pvp was a joke (especially when you added Jedi to the mix), and you couldn't jump. No vertical movement at all. They went to all that trouble to make this game, but you couldn't jump.

Love it or hate it, Blizzard has kept people involved in their game for a LONG time, multiple lifetimes when compared to other MMO's...if the game doesn't push and pull you into some direction, you do the same shit you do in real life, get bored.

Re:Reasons, reasons (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051035)

They tried an almost completely free sand-box style of play, and had arguably the best theme for an MMO ever, and it totally sucked.

Mostly because they tried to dumb it down from that sandbox, in order to draw in new players, thus alienating their player base -- which is suicide for an MMO. They pretty much drove it into the fucking ground.

From what I've read, the things they did wrong were:

  - They completely changed combat to be more twitch-based and less RPG-based, thus alienating any of its player base who don't like FPSes, including some disabled people.

  - They killed off whole classes and skills -- I believe over half of these were removed, to make the game simpler to balance and understand -- thus alienating the existing player base who liked such things, and failing to provide any real draw to people who were already playing "simpler" games like WoW.

  - They made Jedi common. Really fucking common. Seriously, in any realistic Star Wars universe, especially one set between movies in the original trilogy, Jedi had better be rarer than GMs. Thus, they disrespected both the storyline and the original Jedi, who became Jedi when that was actually hard to do.

  - They changed all this stuff. And they changed it relatively frequently. Yes, everyone likes updates to an MMO, but there's a difference between an update -- just adding more content, keeping everything balanced and relatively stable -- and a catastrophic change like wiping out half the professions.

Basically, they had a game that, while it wasn't living up to their expectations, it did have a bit of uniqueness, and a cult following, and would likely have lasted a long time. And they went in and ripped out that quirky uniqueness and replaced it with their idea of what might appeal to the lowest common denominator -- and in so doing, they lost both their niche and the lowest common denominator.

And that's why, while I might not like some aspects of WoW, they will never change, as long as Blizzard is smart.

It's also why these guys are partly right, and partly wrong. They're wrong that the WoW-killer will be completely unlike WoW -- it will have to be both like and unlike it, and absurdly better than it, just as WoW was all of these things for Everquest. But they're right that, if you're making an MMO now, unless you have a budget bigger than Blizzard, you do not want to be competing with them -- you want to carve yourself a niche, and hone that niche to a fine edge.

So, for example, I don't really like the Sims, but it's a pretty popular game. Second Life is popular as well. That proves that "sandbox play" is a viable niche, at least.

Re:Reasons, reasons (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051129)

They made Jedi common. Really fucking common.

That's the core problem of the game: You can't have one single class that everyone thinks is awesome and then expect people to play support characters. People play MMOs to be heros.

Face it. Everyone wants to be a Jedi if he's "into" Star Wars. Would you want to play the MediBot, eh? Then why'd you expect anyone else to? Furthermore, Jedis would have to blow the socks off anyone else because, well, they are quite a bit overpowered in the SW universe.

It's one of the reasons why I decided against playing the Star Wars MMO, there is no way to get this "balanced" and "fair" while at the same time staying true to the story.

Re:Reasons, reasons (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052083)

I realize that a big part of the player base for Galaxies was Star Wars fans, but that wasn't the whole of the player base. I was a fan, but I didn't want to play Luke Skywalker, I wanted to play Han Solo so I was never interested in the great Jedi unlock quests. My friend wasn't a fan, but wanted to play a Jedi because it was hard to unlock, and when they changed it he lost interest in the game completely. To this day he still talks about how it was his favorite MMO ever up until they started changing it instead of fixing it.

I'm also not sure what the grandparent post is talking about when they say it sucked because of the sand-box style of play. There were a lot of things that were either unbalanced or simply didn't work in that game, but the open sand-box style of play is what kept us in the game despite all of that.

Re:Reasons, reasons (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052431)

That's the core problem of the game: You can't have one single class that everyone thinks is awesome and then expect people to play support characters. People play MMOs to be heros.

I'd argue that is a problem with the players and not the game. I think it turns out that if you play the "storm trooper" and follow organized guild leaders your experience will be a lot better in the long term.

I play on a guild on Warhammer Online who leader is basically a dictator and screams obscenities like a marine drill sargent at us.

But the reason we put up with him, was before he and his guild came on the server, our faction was constantly being beat down by the other side.

Everyone swallowed their pride and join a mega guild and we turned the server around in our favor. Now the opposing faction is composed with a lot of smaller guilds who infight and they can never organize a effective enough force to beat us.

The same can be said about PvE raiding. If you don't have an effective leadership, then you will often fail.

I know "More dots! More dots!" was a bit extreme, but besides the fact a lot of people do want to be a hero, a lot more want to win and don't mind following orders.

On a side note, I do notice a lot of ex-military people in the guild and perhaps that is why we have the mindset of being the storm trooper instead of the Jedi.

Re:Reasons, reasons (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052549)

Actually, it was one of the reasons why when trying the game out, I decided very quickly to think about all the other classes but the Jedi. Who wants to be a Jedi if every 12 year old fat kid in his slumhole is?

New activities (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051177)

I don't think getting rid of things like quests or levels are a goal in itself. Replacing levels with skill systems would be interesting in that it makes for more customization, but is difficult to balance. Magic the Gathering has a fairly well-balanced PvP system with endless customization, so difficult != impossible.

Quests are essentially scripted tutorials or interactive movies. They do have their place and are fairly easy to implement. Activities other than quests that people just do in current games regardless of systems include socializing, trading, roleplaying etc. Looking at some of the things people do with the tools available on Facebook or in Second Life could give ideas for what could be built into major timesinks. Customization and crafting are great for giving more life to a world and letting users generate content for each other without breaking game balance.

Costly hobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28050667)

"A huge percentage of people who truly love WoW, I've always believed, do not know or particularly care about this whole world of MMOs out there. They're WoW players and that's it."

Yes, well most people don't have money to burn. They can't justify playing several different MMOs. For most people, even WoW is a big waste of money - for the price you could buy a new game every couple of months.

MMO*** (4, Interesting)

hine_uk (783556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050677)

The problem is that everytime a game is made with the first three letters above, the last three always seem to be RPG and this is always the problem. I am a gamer who spends a lot of time and money on gaming. I have a young family so going out socialising isnt a real possibility like it was 10 or even 5 years ago. I've tried WoW and i've tried Eve, whilst both seem initially interesting they fall foul (to me) in one key area - gameplay. In short there isnt really that much.

All of these MMO(rpg's) seem to make their money and selling point around what's round the corner. You might have a Thorax or a +5 shield now, but in one more month you could have a Deimos and a +9 shield AND a new hammer! Its also this point that raises my next.

Skill

Alot of these MMO's have painted themselves into a corner with regard to creating a level playing field between established players and new players. You could have two players of equal skill squaring off but because one has been feeding his habit for a few months or even years longer they win in the random number generator fight that occurs.

I am hoping that the new jumpgate game chages this a bit with its reliance on player piloting skill for combat if the read-ups are to be believed but in the meantime I rely on games like Left4Dead to provide my social gaming fix. The number of hours I have got in on it are absurd. Its a class based game, with a social setting - especially if you play vs mode and best of all you dont get your ass handed to you by someone Jonesing bad for a fix from a 3 year habit, getting the kill simply because the developer is giving them an I win button for their money.

To me games are about skill with a little bit of luck and that is what alot of these MMO's with their endless levelling seem to forget, I have money and am willing to give it to a developer who can figure that out.

Re:MMO*** (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050835)

I play Guild Wars. In Guild Wars (GW), human skill (and ping) does make a big difference, not so much how long you've played.

The trouble is with GW, if you want access to all the game skills and items unlocked for PvP _immediately_, you have to pay:

USD10 for PvP item unlock pack (this unlocks all item mods so you can make any item you want for your PvP characters that you can create and delete on demand).
USD10 for Core Skill unlock pack - this unlocks all the skills common to all campaigns.
USD10 for Prophecies campaign skill unlock pack - this unlocks the prophecies specific skills - some which can be rather useful...
USD10 for Factions campaign skill unlock pack - same as above but for Factions
USD10 for Nightfall campaign skills
USD10 for Eye of the North skills.

So that's a total of USD60, on top of the USD20 for just a PVP only account.

Now of course you could pay USD20, get a limited bunch of skills and then grind your way by winning battles and thus get faction to gradually unlock the stuff you want), but I think most PvP-only players won't like that sort of bullshit (would you?).

As it is, while GW could have been a more "player skill counts" game, it won't really attract the sort of players who play counterstrike, left4dead, starcraft, etc. Those sort people don't mind "grinding" _5_ minutes to unlock all stuff, but anything much more, they play a different game.

Re:MMO*** (4, Informative)

ruemere (1148095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051051)

Dude,

you're approaching to this in the worst way possible.

Firstly, all campaigns require 50 EUR (or less, if you buy with discount). Why buy unlock packs when you can have everything you need for slightly more (or less, with discounts) along with all campaign content?

Secondly, to unlock 8 specific skills, you need, in the worst scenario, 10K points in Balthasar faction. This is an hour of enjoyable Jade Quarry play. You don't need to unlock all skills, merely those you wish to use.

Thirdly, for guidance and support of community, there are two important sites to get your started (and save from some common mistakes):
http://wiki.guildwars.com/ [guildwars.com]
http://www.guildwarsguru.com/ [guildwarsguru.com]
http://pvx.wikia.com/ [wikia.com]

Regards,
Ruemere

You don't get it. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051465)

Dude. You miss the point totally. Please try to read and understand first.

Just buying all campaigns doesn't mean you get all the skills _unlocked_. YOU CANNOT UNLOCKED SKILLS!

You would still need to _grind_ to get the skills and items unlocked.

Yes, you don't mind an HOUR of grinding using a less desirable skill bar in less desirable battle (you might not want to play Jade Quarry) to unlock some skills. You are clearly NOT the sort of player I'm talking about.

Go try telling a counterstrike player that he has to waste 1 hour in a cybercafe with an MP5 doing "escort the VIP" just to unlock the weapons he needs before he can get down to serious playing against other players in dust2.

You don't get it. They want to fight other players. Not fight the frigging game.

Worse - a PvP player might want to switch to different skill bars or classes too. So that means extra hours grinding. What works for Aspenwood can be rather different from Jade Quarry, and very different from Team Arena, HA.

Don't forget you might also need to heroes for a particular team build. Whoopee more hours of "enjoyable Jade Quarry Play", when you actually wanted to play Hero Battles.

While that is perfectly fine for the PvE player mentality (hours = insignificant - they grind months for stuff all the time). It just doesn't work for someone like the OP, who plays left4dead etc.

Re:You don't get it. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051651)

Agh... I meant you cannot _use_ unlocked skills. Even though you have bought all the campaigns, the skills are there, but you need to unlock them.

Doh.

Re:MMO*** (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050841)

You could have two players of equal skill squaring off but because one has been feeding his habit for a few months or even years longer they win in the random number generator fight that occurs.

First, there's no such thing as "equal" skill. Some people are good at one thing, some are good at another -- think rock paper scissors. People learn from each other, as they play.

Second, in any decent MMO, skill can trump stats. Ideally, you strike a balance so that the +9 shield does really make a difference compared to the +5 shield, but a decent player with a +5 shield is still going to mop the floor with an unskilled person who has a +9 shield.

To me games are about skill with a little bit of luck and that is what alot of these MMO's with their endless levelling seem to forget

Well, there's more to it than just time. There's skill in the combat itself, skill in playing the market, there's skill in managing a team...

How would you even have a "market" in a game which doesn't have those properties? Take Left 4 Dead -- what would players buy, trade, and sell?

I have money and am willing to give it to a developer who can figure that out.

Right now, it seems to be Valve with Left 4 Dead. As for Blizzard, they are developers who also have money....

Re:MMO*** (1)

hine_uk (783556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050931)

Granted on the rock scissors paper comment, there is usually an achilllies heel type weakenss that a clever foe can exploit, but while skill CAN trump stats, the way these games are designed is so they dont. Think WoW or Eve and how often does a level 50 beat a level 70 or a tech I a tech II?

With regard to playing the market that comes back to the time vs skill. I'm going to guess this is based around Eve because that has the deepest market I know. But again, to compete in any real terms with an experienced player is almost impossible if they have spent a few months 'investing' points in skills to help them playing the market. A new player can only buy and sell in their local station, an excperienced one from an adjacent sector, a new player can only put on five orders, an old one god knows how many. A new player pays 1% tax, because an older one has clicked 'train' he has to pay 0.5% tax.

It is all these arbitrary ceilings and barriers that ruin games like MMO's. Let the player be the barrier and not some bullshit counter to drip feed me false reward.

If your game is fun players will keep coming back, look at counterstrike, even though its old, people still play it because its fun. new player against an old typically means the old wins due to knowledge of game mechanics, wit and personal experience. But that old player, armed with skill and grit can still pull off a lucky headshot because.

With regards to guildwars, its one i've thought about giving a try and very well might once summer is nearing an end and the nights are getting cold and dark again.

Re:MMO*** (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050893)

Completely agree, it's the reason I don't really go in for RPGs as a rule, certainly not if you have to pay for them anyway. To get anywhere you need to spend a lot of time just questing or training up your character to keep up with the Joneses so to speak. I have enjoyed MUDing from time to time, because of good theme choices and the people that I'm playing with, but the gameplay itself usually is quite repetitive. MUDs could do with throwing out the rulebook too, most of the basics of stuff like combat seem to be exactly the same no matter where you go.

Re:MMO*** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28050951)

Which is why i play Subspace / Continuum and not WoW :)

Re:MMO*** (1)

skiman1979 (725635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051429)

I agree these games need more skill instead of just using your most powerful skills to do the most damage to every opponent every time. It should be possible to use even a weak skill, at precisely the right time, to take someone down.

I was just thinking of something that might be interesting in MMORPGs regarding PVP, possibly. What about putting in some kind of (minor?) weakness into the characters? This can be randomized somewhat so not every wizard has the same fault, or not every warlock or swordsman has the same flaw.

I'm not sure how well that would work out, but it could potentially give lower level players a chance against higher level players if they can find that weakness. Players can train themselves in a certain way to help fix that weakness, but it might create another one.

Re:Darkfall Online (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052499)

Alot of these MMO's have painted themselves into a corner with regard to creating a level playing field between established players and new players. You could have two players of equal skill squaring off but because one has been feeding his habit for a few months or even years longer they win in the random number generator fight that occurs.

Sounds like you want to play Darkfall Online [darkfallonline.com]

I've been reading this blog [mmorpg.com] and it seems that the game isn't like any other one I have seen so far.

They say its based on player skill and there are no levels much like Ultima Online and you can build cities like Shadowbane.

That said... I haven't played it so you'll have to take the blogs word for it.

'Customers' (1, Interesting)

Osmosis_Garett (712648) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050705)

Thank goodness Darkfall has 'launched', and proves that a game doesn't have to follow the 'rules' to be 'successful'.

You HAVE to change the formula (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050829)

At least if you want to "beat" WoW.

Let's be sensible: You cannot create an MMO at the same "polished" level as WoW. No MMO, ever, will have the polished feel of an MMO that has been in existance for about 5 years. You can't afford that. To do that, basically what you'd have to do is create a MMO (insane dev costs), then have people play it for free for five years (even more insane dev costs), support those people at release level, and so on, all without a dime of revenue.

Remember the release of WoW? Yes, it was a lot more finished than many MMOs at release (Blizzard actually does finish their games, most of the time), it still was the usual disaster. Servers not available for days. Quests broken and requiring GM intervention to complete. Balance off. The same you will encounter in any MMO, and usually they're even worse than at WoW release.

Now you try to compete with WoW. If you use the same eazy-bake cookie mix that WoW used, why the heck should people go to your game? They already get that with WoW. Just better. More finished, more balanced, more polished and more reliably.

If you want to compete, if you want to make a "WoW killer", you have to offer something different. You will have a very hard time to convince a die-hard WoW player to come to your game, to do that basically you have to offer them something WoW lacks. You can't just offer the same and think people will switch. Why should they? They'd have to start over at zero again while they already went through the treadmill of leveling in WoW and are now at the "juicy" part of endgame.

You have to offer something different. Just making the next WoW isn't going to convince anyone.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (3, Interesting)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050953)

"You cannot create an MMO at the same "polished" level as WoW"

Sorry but your wrong. Apart from the other. There are a few MMOs out there that are very polished. Eve Online, City of Heroes are two recent ones. Older ones like for example Asherons Call would be on par (excepting graphics) of WoW.

The issue isn't with being polished. There is a formula that makes a great game. For example take Neocron. I played it pre-dome of york. It was extremely buggy, crashed a lot , graphics were OK'ish, limited maps in relation to other MMOs. Yet it was a horribly addictive game. Playing it gave a rush. The fact the client was a buggy pile of poo is what kept others joining the game (was nightmare to install). Having the subscription raised is what pushed me out of the game.

1. For a great MMO you need to satisfy all the Bartle food groups [wikipedia.org] . While at the same time ensuring they don't adversely impact each other.

2. You have to give rewards that mean something (feel you accomplished something in game). Rewards without some level of work do not act as rewards.

3. You have to give an investment to the player. In UO+AC for example this was housing. A bad example of housing is CoX for Supergroup bases.

4. The players have to feel they actually impact the environment. Not have everything reset later. Eve Online does this very well. Likewise with WOW some maps controlled impact gameplay elsewhere. Best one I saw was Asherons call (a town was nuked based on some random players comments). Even the virus outbreak in WOW gave a feeling of the players impacting the environment.

5. You have to build (controlled) conflict, so that communities form. Alliance v Horde, Eve corps.

6. A level of customization. Most of long standing WOW players actually run with multiple plugins.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051081)

None of the games you mentioned had the "polished" level at release. I wasn't there for the release of CoX (only heard it wasn't exactly pretty), but I've seen the train wreck that the release of EvE was. Actually, I dare say the only reason why those games still exist ist exactly because they are both unlike WoW. CoX at least a little, EvE very, very different.

If they were cookie-cutter style, players would have turned away in disgust at the end of the trial month. For reference and proof, look at AoC, WH and all the other cookie-cutter MMOs. An MMO isn't "finished and polished" when it is released. If you cannot offer anything but "WoW with other setting and maybe graphics", people will return to WoW where they get the same, just "finished".

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28051355)

You guys calling WoW "polished" is really starting to make me sick. Unless your definition of "polished" is "made easy enough that even a retard can play and hyped up forever by endless hordes of fanbois."

To any real MMORPG'r WoW can't be polished because it's such a mediocre turd.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051471)

Ok, then let's define "polished":

1. Working quests.
2. Balance (yeah, yeah, "XXX is overpowered", whatever. What I mean with balanced is that there ain't one class that can solo what needs a group otherwise, while another class is essentially useless).
3. No/few CTDs.
4. Stable servers.
5. Reliable downtimes.
6. Non-clueless support.

Essentially, what I mean is that it is "working as intended". And WoW is working as inteded. That it's a triviality to play to maxlevel is no "polishing" problem. Mostly, I'd blame it on marketing and wanting to cater to the least common denominator.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28052427)

stable servers? my understanding is that there was a waiting time to get onto a server for a couple years after the game came out. granted it shows that it's successful but how "polished" is it when you don't have the resources to host your users? around here that gets you laughed at, not look on with awe.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051917)

> 1. For a great MMO you need to satisfy all the Bartle food groups. While at the same time ensuring they don't adversely impact each other.
NO, you don't. You seem to forget that when UO introduced Trammal, 90%+ of the population said F.U. to Felucca.

Killers != PvP (There is over-lap, but they are not the same.)

> 3. You have to give an investment to the player. In UO+AC for example this was housing.
Yup - it took a while to save up enough money for a house. It encouraged people to pool together, and buy the smaller houses. Every one was jealous of those who could afford the castle, and tower.

> 4. The players have to feel they actually impact the environment.
Agreed. This is a total Joke in WOW. So you control some control points. Big Deal. FPS have done this since '96 with Quake CTF.

The ability for dynamic quests would be a great start.

WOW quests are like going on Disneyland's rides. Since they are static, kills all incentive for replayability.

> 6. A level of customization.
Agreed. That's a big problem if today's 3D games -- everyone looks the same. It only took WoW how many years to offer a "haircut" ?

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052001)

AC was not polished, and it was 10x the game WOW is. WOW is nothing but a class/item/level based game, whereas in AC, if you were a level 90 who knew what he was doing, you could fight (in pvp) level 200's and kill them, or go to the hardest places in the game and hold your own.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051241)

You make a lot of interesting points, I'll be interested to see how Mechscape (the new game from the Runescape people) pans out. They have solved the funding issue by using some of their huge warchest to set up a dev team as big a runescape has, and they have a history of adding lots of new content on a regular basis, and they are doing remarkable things in-browser. Full screen accelerated graphics were added to runescape last year - it's not as pretty as WoW, but it's pretty enough, and it's simplicity allows new content to be added almost every other week without price increases.

I'm not sure that they will make a WoW killer, but I think they have as good a chance as anyone, and I think that there's a big market for a sci-fi MMO game that isn't as hard-core as EVE.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

_2Karl (1121451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051441)

I think the main problem is that everyone seems to set out to "beat WoW". Why? Why do you need to beat it? An MMO can be successful, profitable without being the MOST popular or the MOST profitable. Look at LOTRO or EVE for example - they're not eating into WoW's playerbase, but they're (presumably) still doing well.

I'm sure there are probably more examples of MMOs which may not be on everybody's lips, but still manage to turn a profit. Does anybody have data on small-time MMO projects like Vendetta [vendetta-online.com] or A Tale in the Desert [atitd.com] ? I've played Vendetta briefly though I have no real handle on their subscriber base.

That said however, both Vendetta and A Tale in the Desert "break the formula" so to speak, I'd imagine if they were small time WoW clones they would simply have sank without trace. In summary then: Break the mould, don't worry about "beating wow", just worry about making your own game a success (and that doesn't mean loads of money necessarily).

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051525)

It's a matter of funding and expectations.

Few "small" companies can tackle something like an MMO on their own expense. So they need someone to pump money into the endeavor. And while it's quite easy (even now) to get someone to fund your MMO, their expectations are off the chart.

6 years ago, an MMO was a success if it managed to attract about 100k people. 60k was already good enough to run a game a year or two (if you're a big company, a small company could even exist on that). 200k and you "made it". A million and you were off the chart and Linage.

Today, a million is almost what is expected or you're considered sub-par. 100k subs? You failed! Big time!

Basically, you have to promise your VCs the stars, or they turn to the next company wanting to make an MMO, and they will promise them that. You have to promise them a new WoW to get the money. And of course you will fail if you offer the same WoW offers. You might even attract the 60-100k needed to keep the game afloat and running, but you'll piss off your VC and they pull the plug on you.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

_2Karl (1121451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051721)

ahhh bringing Venture Capitalists into the picture suddently makes the risk-averse nature make sense.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052365)

Today, a million is almost what is expected or you're considered sub-par.

Not by anyone who has, for example, looked at the chart posted higher in this very thread IE any responsible businessperson. There are less than half a dozen million-strong MMOGs according to that summary, and there is one very obvious winner and a whole bunch of very distant second-placers. If your business assets aren't aware of those facts they are not people with whom you should be dealing.

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

ArmchairGeneral (1244800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051875)

I have played WoW for about 2 years now and I can tell you I haven't tried any of the other MMO's out there. They just don't interest me, sure their graphics are incredibly detailed and everything is more lifelike, but perhaps that's what I like about WoW, it's almost a cartoon base. It's not realistic and I like it that way. The balance of humour and playability make it a very good MMO for what I want to play. As for another MMO to come along, sure there will be others, but as someone else here said, they would need to pour an incredible amount of money into it first to make it appealing. If anyone comes out with a successful MMO again, it will probably be Blizzard, they already make a winning MMO and they are well known to release games when they are actually ready for the masses, not unfisihed like other manufacturers *cough* ea *cough*

Re:You HAVE to change the formula (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052443)

It's not the graphics that set WoW apart. There are older and newer MMOs that have more appeal to me. I don't really care about graphics. There's a reason why I still play Anarchy Online from time to time, despite its insanely dated graphics.

WoW is different in other ways. First, there's little "decisions" to make when leveling. There are no decisions that can't be undone easily. The only decision you have to make when leveling up is how you distribute your skill points, and those can easily be changed for a handful of gold. There's no way you can "break" your character by choosing the wrong skills. No need to consider redoing a character because it's not "perfect".

Second, death is trivial. It costs money. That's it. Nothing to lose. You don't lose your equipment, there's not even "xp debt" or xp loss as in many other games. I've seen people use suicide as a way of traveling.

Third, it's very soloable. Whether you prefer to grind and farm, or whether you want to level with quests, you do not need a group until you want to do raids. The incentive to group is actually minimal compared to other games which make it basically a requirement, be it because the mobs that give xp can't be killed solo easily or be it because classes are more specialized (in DAoC, the cleric could essentially not kill anything by himself).

Fourth, very easy to customize. It's easy to install addons that help you organize your goods, find quests and quest locations, find harvesting nodes and so on. The, often quite lengthy, process of learning where to find what is removed.

In total, WoW is fairly "user friendly" and easy compared to other MMOs. Whether that's good or bad is up to the player, of course. Judging by the number of people playing, it seems easy games are prefered.

Maybe it's a good concept (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050859)

Fantasy stories with quests and dragons are already popular for centuries, they're just very appealing. If so many MMORPGs have this concept, maybe it's because this concept is good. I don't know what "hardcore" RPG fans want, do they want weird extraterrestial storylines instead, or "no quests" so what are they going to do instead?

Re:Maybe it's a good concept (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050895)

Grouping experience? That's what I'm looking for in an MMO. I don't want to play essentially a solo game up to levelmax so I can finally start grouping because it's required for endgame content (only to find out that neither me nor anyone else can sensibly play in a group because we never did).

With older MMOs groups were basically a requirement to get anywhere. Anyone remember DAoC? No class (save the "new" ones that were introduced because people whined 'cause they couldn't get to level 50 without actually interacting with other players) could solo well past level 20, you also got a LOT more experience with a group.

But those games are not what "the masses" want. They don't want to have to travel for 15 minutes. They don't want to look for a group for another 15 minutes. They don't want to group to "farm". Appearantly, what people want today in MMOs is a solo game with the option to brag about what they could do alone.

Why the heck I should pay 15 bucks a month to play a solo game with bragging rights is beyond me, but appearantly that's how it is today.

Dancing Elves On Mailboxes And Cows In Skirts (1)

CyberSlammer (1459173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050919)

I think the rulebook was thrown out, shredded, and burned a long time ago. The sheer visual ridicule that is WoW is what turned me off to it...why no mention of EQ? EQ2? SWG?

The only reason WoW got popular is because it is so rudimentary and simple it doesn't require any effort to grind your way to a higher level...I could spend two years killing boards in the forest too to get to a certain level, but I at least want to be challenged doing it and not worrying about some kids running around ganking my ass when I least expected it.

Re:Dancing Elves On Mailboxes And Cows In Skirts (2, Funny)

CyberSlammer (1459173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28050925)

LOL I meant boars...if I spent two years killing boards in the forest I would have been one hell of a carpenter....or have a shitload of splinters.

Re:Dancing Elves On Mailboxes And Cows In Skirts (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051173)

That's basically what made WoW the huge success it is: It is trivially easy to level up. It takes time. Nothing else. I've heard of 3 year olds playing it and being quite successful, and I do not doubt that a single moment. Which is cool, before you mod me flamebait, if that's what you're looking for. Many people do have a challenging life and want to relax and unwind in a game, not to face more challenging obstacles and tough decisions. Others again don't get anything done and want at least a sense of accomplishment in a game, and an easy game gives you that more, well, easily.

It is a bit more of a challenge (well, was before it was dumbed down so anyone could do it again) when you got to the point where you needed a group for raids. Compared to the rest of the MMO world, they tend to be fairly easy too (just watch where you step so you don't run into the wanderers and look up a cycle for your styles/spells to max out DPS isn't quite what I'd consider a challenge).

But this is what is wanted. The majority of people don't want challenging games. They want rewards.

Re:Dancing Elves On Mailboxes And Cows In Skirts (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051649)

But this is what is wanted. The majority of people don't want challenging games. They want rewards.

It's not about the challenge, really. I just don't want to come home from work and spend my leisure time on something that is, on average, more frustrating than my job.

That said, I think WOTLK has really dumbed things down significantly. I haven't done some of the new Uludar content yet, but crowd control has become a thing of the past since BC.

Re:Dancing Elves On Mailboxes And Cows In Skirts (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051877)

I could spend two years killing boards in the forest too to get to a certain level, but I at least want to be challenged doing it and not worrying about some kids running around ganking my ass when I least expected it.

Just because that's the way it works in South Park's version of World of Warcraft doesn't mean you can do that in the real game. Enemies outside of your level range won't give you experience any more. At low levels, that range is 5 levels in a downward direction.

why no mention of EQ? EQ2? SWG?

Because WoW has 10 times more subscribers than the three of them combined. I've played EQ2 and SWG and they don't hold up a candle to WoW.

As an ex- D&D player and hardcore gamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28051183)

I've read Tolkien 20 years ago, as a teenager. I've played many (live) D&D and several RPGs on a lot of computers. Some online, some offline. Some graphical, some textual.

I used to play D2 from Blizzard, in hardcore move, having level 90+ chars. Don't know why D2 was such a an appeal to me: it's more of a shoot-em up than a RPG but at least the hardcore mode made it wild.

I can remember my heart beating at some very precise spots in the game, where I nearly lost (or lost) big characters that I had been playing for months.

When WoW came out, I tried it. It didn't have "permadeath" (no "hardcore mode"). I immediately lost interest.

WoW isn't anywhere near what a good RPG should be. There's a lot of room for improvement, for hardcore gamers, ex- (live) D&D players and random Joe as well.

I'm pretty sure in a few years something will come out that I'll want to play a lot again.

From a personal perspective (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051189)

Hardcore players is nice speak for "assholes who complain if things don't go their way". Really, I have played about every "mmorpg" since bbs days, to include early graphical ones like Yserbius (if you could call that a mmorpg). Every game gets its "hardcore" people who are nothing more than those self righteous bastards in politics and the like who tell us how what we should enjoy and what we should do which of course none of which applies to them.

They are hardcore players because they can never be satisfied. Change something in game, even if it does not affect them directly it becomes a major issue. If it makes the game easier for someone suddenly the whole game becomes carebear. If it reduces the ability of their current class to gank/be overpowered they scream nerf. That is the key, real hardcore players would not care about nerfs - it makes the game more challenging. Hence everytime I see them complain its because someone else might get a shiny that they think they only deserve.

Why does WOW have so many hardcore naysayers? Simple, because these people can't all be number one when there is a sizable pool of great gaming talent to compete against. Hence the "hardcore" people crop up with every excuse and exception to explain why other people aren't as good as them and how its the games fault for not letting "the hardcore" people demonstrate their superiority.

As for the article, I read "We cannot compete with WOW so here is our list of chosen excuses : read feature changes"

Yes. why have quests? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051381)

The hotbar (if I understand it) is just a UI feature. It's kept around because it's a useful piece of UI design.

Quests are another matter. They seem to be designed to turn an MMO into a 1-4 player game. I'm sure you can play WoW and only ever interact with at most 3 people.

Now, this is fine. A lot of people like quests and there's a game that provides them, but it's not the only way to do this. It's a result of designers being stuck in a single player game mindset. It would be possible to base an entire game on actual roleplay, and encourage players to actually compete with each other, form alliances, betrsy each other. Compete for influence. Pay the game the way they feel it should be played. There are games that do this. They have a following. They tend to be low budget affairs but there's certainly a niche.

Re:Yes. why have quests? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051551)

You can play WoW and get to maxlevel without ever interacting with a single other person directly (you might want to buy stuff in an auction from time to time). And if you're sociophobic enough to never group for a raid, you can eventually get that gear other ways too. Why one would pay 15 bucks a month to play a single player game is beyond me, but it's certainly possible.

And it's not designers. Earlier games were designed around early level grouping, and the quests were likewise geared for that too. It's not what the devs want, it's appearantly what the players want. Today's gamers don't want to "LFG!" for 15 minutes before they can start playing, they want to log in and play right away.

Re:Yes. why have quests? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051715)

Naturally you're going to get a lot of people who like quests since they have mostly come from a gaming background. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The main problem with appealing to this groups is that WoW already does so and it's hard to do so better than WoW. The market for this type of game is completely saturated.

I do however feel that the social aspect could be improved, and an MMO could appeal to a different overlapping set of gamers. Rather than coming from the direction of an RPG and adding multiplayer, what would happen if you started with Second Life and added some game elements?

Not sure what a MMO* is, but... (1)

LoganTeamX (738778) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051473)

EVE is what I play as I wait for the cost of human space travel to go down. It's a little bit of salve for my soul, knowing full well I'll never see jump drives, modulated strip miners or 1400mm howitzers and their battleship ilk piloted by incompetent Minmatarian asshats. Besides, if you're ANYTHING of a space warfare / space "tech" person and you haven't witnessed an EVE carrier, mothership or Titan up close and "personal" in-game... you're missing out. EVE is fun... and then there are capital ships. Capital ships are proof that some of the right people took the right lessons away from the Star Wars universe and applied them elsewhere.

WoW today is the AOL of the dial-up era... (0, Flamebait)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28051599)

Pure and simple - the class and type of player it attracts is the same too. The high-end/hard-core doesn't exist the same way it did in previous MMOs. It's MMOs-for-dummies and that is EXACTLY why it is so successful.

WoW didn't stop me from trying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28051729)

I'm a huge gamer. Been one for 21 years now (I'm 33) and love just about every style out there. Played a lot of fee based MMOs and none of them captured me like WoW did. CoH, WAR, AoC, LOTRO, heck, Auto Assault, Lineage...cancelled all of 'em after 3 months of extensive gameplay. 3 months was my window to be able to have a relative opinion on the game. EVE was the one that lasted a bit more (~ 6 months).

Fed up of WoW after 3.5 years and I'd give anything to find something as captivating. Waiting for that KOTOR MMO. I want sci-fi!

That or bring back Zak McKracken.

Of course I have to pipe up (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052113)

This being my one and only game for about 4 years now....I have found the true formula to happiness, is 2 months on, 2 months off....this way i play until my hearts content for the 2 months, and then catch up on everything else for the 2 months afterwards.
The important thing to remember is yes, this is not just another MMO, this is WoW, it actually has its own economy within the game. You have auction software that you can use to peruse through the AH, and resell what is undervalued, and not play any of the game, but make 1000s of gold just sitting at the AH.
Then you have continuous updates that enhances the game itself, and slowly, blizzard is warming up to the fact that the game is aging, and will eventually need to turn itself into a more obtainable
schema for quests, and achievements, so they raise the damage you do, or raise the healing you take, little by little,....except for the new, new stuff, that they still make hard as crap to finish.

My one pet pieve, is that I already have a lvl 80 character, you want me to try others and "waste" my time even more playing your game, make it interesting, make it half as difficult for me to level another character....based on the no of alts i have i can level a new character that much faster.

This way i "want" to try something new...cuz' it still costs me 15$ per month to play....ya know!

Re:Of course I have to pipe up (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052291)

The important thing to remember is yes, this is not just another MMO, this is WoW, it actually has its own economy within the game. You have auction software that you can use to peruse through the AH, and resell what is undervalued, and not play any of the game, but make 1000s of gold just sitting at the AH.

How real is the economy? Eve Online has a more or less functional economy, I remember reading a post about the availability of scout ships being changed to meet the amount of ore available in-game. I would spend some money to play a game like that (if I had time and a low-latency internet connection) even if I didn't intend to interact with other players often just to have a dynamic world that works on some actual rules.

Help Me Help You (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052309)

"Procedural Content Generation" is the future of MMOs. Like Diablo's random dungeon generation on steroids entire shards can be generated, each one unique. Allowing no cost transfer to other shards along with a fixed lifespan for a shard makes exploring the world and what weirdness emerges from the generation would make much of the grumbling in contemporary MMOs irrelivant.

stating the obvious (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28052325)

Well, yes of course.

When you have a 500 lbs gorilla in the room, you don't wrestle with it. Anyone who's trying to do the same thing as WoW does, "just better" will have that experience - as so many already had. WoW is too big to be unlodged by something that does the same thing slightly better, or even considerably better. I dare to say, even a whole lot better.

That's because you have a playerbase that has real-value investments in WoW. Playtime they paid for, and most of them lots of lots of it. To convince them to give that up and start again is not something you do with the same formula and a couple gradual improvements.

A "WoW killer" can only be obviously different in many aspects. The answer to the question "why not just stay with WoW?" has to be blatantly obvious.

WoW ain't got nothing on UO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28052461)

I was surprised to see players have written WoW servers. Ultima Online player servers have been around for a long long time though, check out this great one: http://www.game-master.net

UO lets you do a lot more than WoW does and you can run it on older hardware since it's 2D and 10+ years old now. But still so fun!

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