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EVE (2, Interesting)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753025)

EVE Online can take note of 1, 2, 3....and 6 and 7.


Re:EVE (4, Informative)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753046)

I'm not sure I understand, what specifically do you think EVE needs to take note of in those items? Like item 3, Travel Should be Easy....... given the scope of how large the EVE universe is, I was struck by how useful and easy the tools were for going through the atlas and setting your autopilot (and even having control over whether it plotted a course for you through dangerous areas or not). And for 2, "details matter"; in my time with EVE I thought that it was very detailed and there seemed to be an incredible amount of depth in how the universe's economy had been set up, etc. And 6, "style should shine through"; how does EVE fail in this area in your mind? I thought the UI and "look" of the game was very stylish. Regarding 1 and 7; well, I guess that is a matter of opinion. Does everything have to be "fun"? I don't know, I guess in that case, yeah, you could argue that EvE wouldn't fit the bill. I'm just not sure this should be a rule though, some things can be interesting but not necessarily "fun". And regarding item 7, I would guess though that if you did enjoy EVE, you'd probably leave every session "jazzed" about the game.

Re:EVE (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753087)

> For style, see Earth and Beyond. It had (it's dead now) a distinct style.
> The UI really isn't that great. The icons are not intuitive.
> If you get killed, then have to spend 30 minutes+ and 700,000+ ISK just to redo your ship, that's not fun. Well, most of that time is waiting for your ship to travel 4 AUs a second, then unwarp 15KM away from the fricken stargate/station and have to wait 30 seconds until it actually docks.

I like EVE, don't get me wrong. I just think that it has some serious problems, especially in the UI department.

Re:EVE (1)

magicchex (898936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753619)

I wish it was only 700000 ISK to redo my ship.

Re:EVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753705)

My ceptor was aroudn 28m all decked out.

That was my cheapy.

Eve blows though, I kicked that habit and went to vendetta Online. The devs there listen more than dictate.

Re:EVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14759083)

You GUESS it has to be "fun"? What are you paying a monthly fee for, to be miserable? If you want, you can pay ME $12/mo and I will let you play some shitty playstation games whenever you want.

Re:EVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14755468)

I quit EVE when I found the MAJOR problem was it was TOO MUCH like WOW.

I don't WANT to have to be part of a massive guild just to get things done.

I don't WANT to pvp(and in EVE you don't get a choice)

That and the item selection was GARBAGE. Gee, I can get one of 14 different laser cannon's for my ship.... ever... wooo... a little random variance would have given me hope.

Only 200 hours? What a lightweight :) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753027)

Come on, thats not even 8 days.. you aren't even L60 yet! Learn2NotWhine, n00b :)

Re:Only 200 hours? What a lightweight :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753719)

He's listing all the good things about WoW that can apply to face-to-face roleplayers. You think that's whining?

Learn2ReadTheArticle, b00b. :)

Oops, misread it........ (4, Funny)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753036)

When I saw the headline, I thought it said "Lessons GM Can Learn from World of Warcraft"........ thought it was going to be about how WoW could help the automotive industry.

Re:Oops, misread it........ (3, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753197)

I on the other hand thought General Managers can find out how their employees are playing on WoW and manage them accordingly.

Re:Oops, misread it........ (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753201)

So did I. Although, you must admit, i'm sure that GM could certainly do better by charging 15 bucks a months to drive.

Re:Oops, misread it........ (1)

DemENtoR (582030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753235)

Glad I'm not the only one.

Re:Oops, misread it........ (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753251)

Interestingly enough, that was what I was expecting to read here too. I'm actually a bit disappointed, I thought that was a cool premise, and you know, GM really could stand to learn something considering how well WOW is doing while GM struggles.

Re:Oops, misread it........ (2, Funny)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753490)

Thanks for reminding me -- I need to spend some time levelling up my Camaro this weekend.

Re:Oops, misread it........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754934)

Frankly GM has 50+ meanings.. 3 which actually apply in this context.

GM - Game Master, better known as DM, or dungeon master.

GM - Game Moderator, the more common usage of GM.

GM - Guild Master, not quite the right context, but still.

Thanks again Slashdot for totally screwing up the lingo!

What is a GM? (4, Insightful)

loddington (263358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753038)

I read the article and I still dont know.

Must be very important whatever it is.

Re:What is a GM? (5, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753091)

GM, at least in the tabletop paper and pens and dice roleplaying world, means Game Master.

He's the person who makes up the quest, who sets up enemy encounters, who is the final authority on what happens. The better the GM, the more enjoyable the game. Creativity is a blessing in a GM.

Re:What is a GM? (1)

Monkeys!!! (831558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753395)

"Creativity is a blessing in a GM." Amen to that! My groups GM is a professional writer. All the adventures we play have complex worlds and are paced brilliantly. It really is the skill of the GM who makes or breaks a game.

Re:What is a GM? (5, Funny)

bradleyland (798918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753098)

The submitter spells out World of Warcraft in the title, but uses an acronym for GM? WoW... I mean, wow.

Re:What is a GM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14757550)

In the original poster's defense, he runs a tabletop roleplaying site. His target audience is RP gamers, and every RP gamer is going to know what "GM" means. He may have assumed when he submitted the article to Slashdot that most Slashdot readers would also know what a GM is. Still, he should have at least written it out at least once in his Slashdot post.

Re:What is a GM? (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758628)

Indeed, I thought it meant General Motors at first.

Re:What is a GM? (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753192)

GM's in the WOW sense are the server police. They are the ones that issue bans, suspensions, warnings, name changes etc.

Re:What is a GM? (2, Insightful)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753224)

That confused me, I though he was writing this to the Game Police of WoW, but no, he's telling Game Masters how to make tabletop gaming more like WoW, and therefore more fun.

Re:What is a GM? (2, Informative)

masterzora (871343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753379)

You forget that is a site specifically for GMing (in the PNP sense, not the WoW sense) tips and whatnot. The term GM is expected to be used without explanation.

Now, as to why the /. submitter didn't explain it, that's a whole different ballpark.

Re:What is a GM? (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754492)

Yeah, well I first read "General Manager" and thought this was the latest business craze book. Like The Tipping Point or Blink! -- but this time with knights and orcs. WoW does have gold farmers, so it must be able to teach middle management something...

Re:What is a GM? (1)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755038)

Well, the thing is, if you don't know what a GM is, then the article, and in fact the entire treasuretables site, is not only not targeted at you, but probably not of any use to you either.

That said, a GM is the Game Master of a Role Playing Game.

Table Top (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753045)

Ah, but all the things that WOW does well aren't what makes a good role playing experiance. For instance a high fantasy game where everything is epic can be just as much fun as a low fantasy game where the conquests are small and the people real.

I think the author misses the point. The strong part of a table top role playing game is that there isn't limits. Players don't have to go and kill all those bad guys to finish the quest or complete the mission in a way the GM ever imagined. To make a table top game more like WOW would be to short change players.

No, no, no, and maybe (5, Insightful)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753060)

1. Everything should be fun
I don't disagree with this in principle, but one player's fun is another's tedium. I know a player who loves big soap operas focused on her character... not fun for the rest of us. OTOH, I don't mind combat, but the soap opera doesn't have fun -- she thinks it's boring.

And there's a difference between working with your players, and catering to them. Sometimes the lows make the highs stand out more.

3. Travel should be easy
Not necessarily. Being able to easily go from point A to point B in a fantasy game robs both places of their uniqueness.

The inability to move quickly also sets up tension. One campaign I DM'd had the players encountering a cursed artifact, which had to be hand-carried to its destination. (Teleports were randomized.) It made the game a lot easier than "OK, we take the sky cab to the big city"

5. Every class should have lots of things to do
Again, it comes back to working with players, versus catering to them. If a player is told that the game is going to be mostly role-playing, but creates an undead-slaying machine, I don't see the DM as being responsible for throwing in numerous combat encounters with skeletons.

8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begins
9. Err on the side of being over-the-top

It really depends on the campaign, setting, and style. I definitely wouldn't say these are "hard and fast rules".

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753108)

You're obviously used to dealing with more advanced players than any I know. D&D is a lot of work, and a lot of people need some substantial reward to be motivated to do it all. At some point, I assume they will find reasons to do it in the gameplay itself, but in the meantime there is no shame in giving them extra incentives to play. And some people NEVER acquire a taste of minmaxing and number crunching, and you'll always have to adapt to make the game fun for them. If you have problems with making the game fun, then you have problems period.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753181)

As soon as you mentioned "a lot of work" and "minmaxing", I knew you weren't quite my time of roleplayer. We can go multiple sessions without rolling a single die. I believe the parent you replied to is at least somewhat similar to me - in that the games played have just as much (if not more) emphasis on character instead of stats.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (4, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753262)

There are two kinds of D&D games. Those that are fun, and those that suck. The D&D games that suck ALWAYS tend to have players or GMs that argue about the rules, and constantly refer to tables. Playing the game should never take a back seat to game mechanics. Game mechanics should be transparent, and argumentative players that are table whores should be ejected. GMs that are table whores should be beaten to death.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (0, Flamebait)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754588)

From TFA, only two of his points had anything to do with mechanics.

My take on the article was "Every game has to be kewl and over-the-top, because if everyone isn't raving when they leave, your campaign sucks." That's great if you're running a ton of combat encounters stitched together with the occasional NPC interaction. Not so good if you're actually trying to tell a story.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755431)

If you want to tell a story, write a book. If you want to play a game, make it fast. If you do it right, you can make it fast AND tell a story. But, remember if you GM that it's not your story, it's the players story.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (3, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14756170)

If you want to tell a story, write a book. If you want to play a game, make it fast. If you do it right, you can make it fast AND tell a story. But, remember if you GM that it's not your story, it's the players story.

Why couldn't it be boths story ? If I was ever a GM, I'd propably try to get players to think up relatives and such for their characters, and then get them to the game - nothing to motivate an adventure than having the villain take your mother hostage :). So what does our noble palading do ? He can't sacrifice an innocent, but he can't deliver the destructive artifact the villain wants him to find either. So he has to play for time and try to find some way to free his mother - perhaps forcing him to hire a sneaky rogue to help him ? That might even be a reason the characters came together in the first place, and set them up to an epic quest of finding the artifact at the very start.

Or suppose some player wants to multiclass into a dragon disciple ? Of course she could simply take that class, but that is the boring way. Suppose you could tie slaying a dragon into the plot, and as the dragon lays dying, that character would suddenly recognize her dear old grandfather - maybe that's the reason why the relatively low-level party beat the dragon, it just wasn't as effective against its own relative - and realizes "I have dragon blood ! And I just killed my own grandfather !" and multiclasses into dragon disciple as a result of that realization. That kind of thing would require negotiation and setup between that player and GM beforehand, obviously - and of course the other players don't need to know about these kind of arrangements.

Or suppose that an amnesiac character is actually the greater goddess Taiia (from the "Deities and Demigods" book - read it once, and she stuck in my mind, mainly because of the neat picture) who somehow got killed a long time ago and has only now started to wake ? She would slowly regain her power during the campaign, which of course would draw lots of unwanted attention, including whatever put her into the deadbook in the first place... And, of course, there's the question of how, if at all, she would have changed from living as a human, and if it had, would it be for the better (the original Taiia is schizophrenic, to but it mildly; one of those creator-destroyer deities) ? And what will the "standard" D&D deities think about getting someone stronger than them around (Taiia's divine level 20, while Moradin and Corellon go up to 19 - and yes, they actually assigned levels to deities; perhaps they should had just made it into a prestige class ?-).

Now, I've only played computer RPGs, so I don't know how well this would actually work in tabletop ones. However, if all I want is to hack and slash, those CRPGs can propably do that a lot better than a human could, precisely because a computer can keep a track of and handle lots of details fast and easy. If I ever play tabletop RPGs, I want to try the things that a computer is bad at - flexibility and creativity.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14756985)

Good players will always test your flexibilty and creativity. Not so good players will test your patience. My campaigns usually consist of a loose framework that can accomodate suprises by the players, and adjustments by me.
Invariably my players will always find a tangent and run with it. For instance, on 'shadowrun' type games I try to not let them into the local 'chinatown' because they always insist on going to the local Kung Fu theater... generally followed by carnage. There's been plenty of times they'll toss you a ridiculous attack plan, so the best way of dealing with that is saying "Ok, if you roll a natural 20 you'll manage to climb that tree, use a limb as a spring board, catapult onto the sled of the helicopter, take out the crew and free your buddies" (yeah, the guy rolled a natural 20, unfortunately he killed the whole crew.. which includes the pilot).

Rules Lawyering (2, Insightful)

Errandboy of Doom (917941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14756041)

Some DMs care about consistency, and some will constantly fudge the rules to arbitrarily reward or punish their players. I prefer the former.

A lot of D&D players are obnoxiously and stubbornly argumentative. That's certainly no virture. But a lot of D&D players resent people who know the rules, because it reminds them that they really just want a game where they're omnipotent and the challenges are meaningless.


Re:Rules Lawyering (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14757000)

Monty Haul games are good for those players. eventually they want something more structured.

Re:No, no, no, and maybe (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754297)

3. Travel should be easy

In fact, unlike WoW or computer/generic experience, with tabletop RPG are a team game. You team with the GM and other players. When the game starts, the fun starts. I played lots of games where we never reach the "point B", hell I have even played game where my character cannot go outside his house alive :-) much less start the adventure.

RPG has more to do with story telling. If you have nothing interesting with the travel from A to B, you skip it.

Wow (3, Insightful)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753061)

If you needed to play WoW to learn these basically common-sense principles for GMs, I am going to have to flamebait and say that you were probably a mediocre GM before you learned all these "lessons" from an MMORPG.

You'd be surprised (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14759442)

You'd be surprised how many people _are_ too unimaginative to be a good GM.

And it's not just some 14 year old GM-ing in his spare time with his buddies, but there are some big names in the MMO industry who don't get those points either.

E.g., having recently reactivated my EQ2 account, it amazes me that Sony just doesn't get it either. You can tell that, in all that clueless thrashing through random changes to the game, they're _desperate_ to copy whatever magical element WoW has, and preferrably one-up it. But they just don't get it.

You can tell looking through their change logs that they expect it to be some lone disparate element (like "hmm, maybe our crafting was too complicated?" or "hmm, maybe we could simplify the classes too?") that they can stick into the non-unified heap that is their game, and instantly have a WoW equivalent. They just blatantly don't get for example point 2 on that list: details matter. There is no magic amulet you can stick into a heap of disparate parts and instantly have a polished product. Yet that's just what Sony is feverishly trying to achieve.

And even when someone points out to them that lack of a unified vision, like Penny Arcade did recently about the EQ2 graphics, they'll just get a flame email from SOE telling them to STFU if they don't have their graphics in a major commercial game. Again, like Penny Arcade got.

And just to give an example of why PA is right, it's not just that Sony stuck together graphics that don't belong together. It's that they also ran it all through some "look what we can do!" shaders and whatnot that just make it all worse. E.g.,

- the more I play it, the more it becomes obvious to me that they _must_ have some depth-of-field effect, because the graphics just go blurry with the distance faster than mip-maps and filtering should cause them to. At any rate, faster than in any other game. Playing the game makes me feel like I've suddenly gotten a bad case of myopia.

- the textures may be right, but just about everything has a gloss effect that just doesn't belong there. Everything looks like the same kind of molded plastic once any kind of dynamic lighting enters the scene. Whether it's a rock or tree or a deer or a weaver's loom, everything looks like plastic.

- water surface effects also snag the edges of objects in _front_ of the water and smear them around (basically incompetently written shaders again)

- and while I'm playing on a very high end machine, I still can't help wonder about the idiocy of using exclusively shaders for texture details instead of detail textures, and offering no fall-back to detail textures. So basically there is no middle ground. Everyone who doesn't have a high end machine won't see it as slightly worse graphics, but will see it all looking like _ass_.

- the lower part of any breastplate or long coat is attached to the pants model, not where it belongs. Why does it matter? Because if you wear pants that aren't from the exact same set, it looks like your coat changes colour in the middle. (And the recent "fix" of just giving newbies a sorta "disguise" vest that overrides the pants, gloves, sleeves and everything, is just another way to feel wrong. It tells me that someone finally realized the problem. Except instead of fixing the actual problem, they've just tried sweeping it under the carpet at least for levels 1-9 with a cheap quick-and-dirty hack.)

That's just some of the details noone paid attention to after more than a year in the graphics department alone.

But the list of wrong or inconsistent details goes deeper and pervades every single aspect of the game. E.g., only now they seem to have finally fixed fish so they swim _in_ the water, instead of hovering _above_ the water. E.g., only now fish actually stop at the border of the water instead of chasing you on land too. But the list is mile long, so I'll stop here.

And that was just point 2. Rest assured that they missed most of the other points on that list by a mile too. I just won't go into it all, because I'd have to write a whole tome.

Basically if a big name like Sony and their professional designers can't understand those points, eh, surely you can't expect that a kid in his spare time will instinctively realize that.

WoW is not a panacea. (5, Informative)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753063)

I already cancelled my WoW account. After level 40, the demands placed on time are really high for someone who doesn't want to do instances with pickup groups, and has no time for a guild. I did play the game for a good 7 months. Here are my thougts on this list:

"Many massively multiplayer games require that you kill endless armies of the same boring enemies to level up. You can do this in WoW, too, but the quest system is so robust and rewarding that you don't actually need to."

No, instead you can either go and kill 1 guy (and bring back some trophy), go and kill several guys until they drop the loot you want, go and talk to someone, go and get something, go and take something, or go and do several of these in a chain. The quests are pretty much the exact some gameplay wrapped up with different names and faces past level 12.

And, of course, once you reach 60, you do these for reputation purely on top of the runs into molten core to get your purple set. I hope you like loot gambling, because it is a week between instance resets, and it can be up to 4 weeks for some people to get 1 extra bit of purple gear if they play all the time.

Seriously, I could sit and play DS or GBA for hours while "playing" WoW (where playing consisted of clicking on an enemy, and then waiting for it to die; repeat). I read several novels while doing it also.

"3. Travel should be easy"

yea, and you should get your mounts at level 30. The level 30 to level 40 slog is very much punctuated by periods where I spent up to half an hour moving from one location to another in order to finish some of the mail-man style quests. That sucked.

"In nearly 200 hours of gameplay, I can count the number of times I've logged off frustrated on one hand. "

Says a person who hasn't been ganked by the elite guards that are around Southshore during a particular quest. I was killed 7 times in the space of a few minutes, and I was level 38 at the time. It wasn't fun.

"WoW's developers tweak the game through patches -- many players would say they tweak it too often, but the principle is sound: Don't be afraid to change things that aren't working,"

You know what's not working for me? Starting alts at level 1. If I'm spent the hours to get to 30, start me with a level 10 alt. If I'm 40, give me a level 15 alt. Max it out at say level 20 alts for level 60 main characters, and make it an option upon character creation. Nothing sucks like having to wade through the 20 hours of repetitive "I'm a newbie who can't play WoW" every time I want to get at alt out of the baby area and into the main part of the game.

Of course, WoW does have strengths as well.

"6. Style should shine through"

  I agree here: WoW gets this right. Everything fits well together. No other MMO I've played is quite like this (except possibly Ultima Online, circa 1999).

Re:WoW is not a panacea. (2, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753217)

And, of course, once you reach 60, you do these for reputation purely on top of the runs into molten core to get your purple set. I hope you like loot gambling, because it is a week between instance resets, and it can be up to 4 weeks for some people to get 1 extra bit of purple gear if they play all the time.

Which would be the case if you left it to just that. Any reasonably organized guild creates a point system (on ours its called "DKP", dragon kill points) which govern the rules of instances like Molten Core, Onyxia, Blackwing Lair and so forth. Every item that can drop in there has a point value. All items that do drop are put in a vast pool which are divided amongst the 40-odd people that attended (if attendence is partial, partial credit is given.. it is all controlled via add on modules). When the pieces do drop, no one rolls (its not on any of the rolling methods, a trusted master looter is used. The item is announced, those with enough points to "buy out" the item can then roll (using /rand) to determine which gets it. Usually far less than the entire run. Then anyone with not enough, but positive gets a crack if no one wanted to buy it, then negatives, and so on. He who gets the loot pays that many points, possibly into the negative.

The net result is that even if you go, and don't win anything, you earn points that will eventually get you the items you want.

Its still work and not quite the high fantasy experience, but at least its not a crap shoot. Most competent guilds get to the point where they can roll the bosses in short order, and its just the timer that controls how often you can do it. Good thing, too, because there are more enjoyable things to be doing than repeating it ad nauseum.

Re:WoW is not a panacea. (3, Informative)

clydemaxwell (935315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755291)

DKP [] is not just what your guild calls it :P

Re:WoW is not a panacea. (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753718)

The quests are pretty much the exact some gameplay wrapped up with different names and faces past level 12.

For those people who haven't played it, WoW's quest system is exactly this simple. Your quest is to acquire X number of item Y, and take it to person Z, thus unlocking the next quest. That is it. That is what all of the quests are. Sometimes the person gives you an item right away and tells you to take it halfway around the globe. Sometimes you have to go halfway around the globe to kill a bad guy for an item, which you then take the rest of the way back. Sometimes you have to hang out and kill 50 guys until the 1 in 10 drop rate nets you 5 items, which take you back to the guy who asked for them. But they are all terribly formulaic, and get exceedingly dull.

The quest system is by far the weakest part of WoW.

Seriously, I could sit and play DS or GBA for hours while "playing" WoW.

I actually play Puzzle Pirates [] while playing World of Warcraft. Browsing Slashdot is also a favorite.

"3. Travel should be easy"

yea, and you should get your mounts at level 30.

You should get your mounts at level 20 or 10. Seriously, why is walking from point A to point B along an empty road for half an hour ever considered viable for inclusion in a game? It's like you're trapped in EA's "The Fairy Tale Adventure" where walking between towns took realistic amounts of time and had realistic encounter densities. (i.e. one every hour)

And if we can't skip the crap, at least let our characters auto-follow the road. It's really annoying while you're trying to read or play another game when you have to keep popping back into WoW to get your character unstuck from a tree while auto-walking.

5. Every class should have lots of things to do.

Unfortunately, I don't think this is true in WoW. When soloing, you have basically one or occasionally two winning strategies. When partying, your role is clear and defined from the first screen of your character creation. Sure, you can choose to heal with heal or you can choose to heal with flash heal, but overall you're pretty pigeonholed.

If you want to change your role, you need to build up an alt from scratch... a generally tedious process that people do again and again.

9. Err on the side of being over-the-top

Part of WoWs style is that everything is larger than life slightly (or more than slightly) cartoony, in a good way. In tabletop gaming, just as you shouldnt hoard your best ideas, you shouldnt be afraid to be over-the-top.

Hmm... I was just feeling the opposite of this. Sure, artistically WoW is a little over the top. But the quests I've done this session included curing a sick girl who went right back to sleep, killing some people because they were stomping on the grass, keeping some courier from getting robbed by highway bandits, and fighting crocodiles for handbags. None of these were particularly "over the top." None even left any impression on the world at all. They barely registered an impression on me.

World of Warcraft has been successful for many reasons, not the least of which is that it took a terribly, terribly slow genre and made it just mostly slow. But we still have quite a ways to go. WoW is still a grind, albeit a slightly less painful than normal one. It still takes hours and hours and hours of play to tick your level up one notch. It still rewards conservative, riskless play rather than running into the enemy's nest with guns blazing. And that quest system... could use a thorough overhaul.

Flavour quests are nice. (4, Interesting)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753996)

"But the quests I've done this session included curing a sick girl who went right back to sleep, killing some people because they were stomping on the grass, keeping some courier from getting robbed by highway bandits, and fighting crocodiles for handbags. None of these were particularly "over the top." None even left any impression on the world at all. They barely registered an impression on me."

These I view as flavour quests. Much like the flavour text of the goblins (stationed at the Lordaeron ruins) who ask you to bring back some nice meat from Orgrimmar, they add a certain sense of being in the game.

The big thing working against this is how none of it is at all randomized or meaningful in the greater scheme. Everytime any character of the correct level happens through that path, the same girl will be there who is being attacked by bandits. Everytime. There is no time you will come across the same NPC who is happy because someone else saved her (or will even mention the name of the person!). Your actions have no lasting effect on the world, making the MMO part of WoW be neutered into playing the Warcraft 3 RPG levels with a world-chat system.

I don't think it would be so hard to increase the # of quests about 4x, and then make it so that they run on different, random timers, so that each playthrough (since all your alts are exactly the same) could have a randomized encounter, or that you could interact with the consequences of other people's encounters.

Perhaps the entire world could be set on a 4-month timer, where everything boils to a head. Over time, as it reset, things could be changed as well. A chance to spend 4 months carving my name across a continent, regardless of my level, would certainly provide me with incentive to play (much more so than the creative guild loot point system the other replier mentioned).

WoW has a lot of potential because the company seems to have more in mind than just killing rats in a tunnels, but so far it's been Diablo on a much larger scale in terms of gameplay. I find myself appreciating Gradius and Ikaruga much more after playing WoW for most of 2005 -- they're short and sweet :D

Re:Flavour quests are nice. (1)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758751)

I don't think it would be so hard to increase the # of quests about 4x, and then make it so that they run on different, random timers, so that each playthrough (since all your alts are exactly the same) could have a randomized encounter, or that you could interact with the consequences of other people's encounters.

And you would be wrong, unfortunately. Content like quests take a lot of time and effort. Coming up with a quasi-original storyline, writing it out, proofreading, coding up the mechanics, and debugging all take considerable time. You can streamline the process, but that just makes all the quests feel really similar. (If you really take a deep look at WoW, you'll see that most of the quest mechanics are very similar, actually.) Adding in the things you suggest would make the quests more interesting, but they would increase the complexity of the quest system and this would make the quests harder to implement, and this means it would take longer to provide the same amount of content.

The other problem with your suggestions is that it would disrupt the gameplay for other people. Sure, it feels a bit cheezy to stand in line behind your friends an "heal" the "sick" girl by doing quest one after another, but that content is always available. Consider what would happen if the girl stayed healthy for a while after being cured. First, only one person could really do the quest (even if multiple people could attempt the quest), so some people might be going through the motions without any hope for reward. Even if she fell sick on an occasional basis, healing her would still be essentially meaningless in the context of changing the world, but now you have less interesting content to keep people occupied.

In my own game, Meridian 59 [] , the quests are limited. If you fail a quest you have to wait before attempting it again, you can't just leap back and try the quest again. But, this is probably the one aspect of core, non-PvP gameplay that generates the most complaints. People get very frustrated and very angry because they can't play the game as they expect to be able to. So, having a "randomized" quest isn't going to make people happier.

Now, you could turn the quest around and have it so that the items to cure the "sick girl" could also cure other infirm people. Yet, that basically kills the what is really great about WoW's quests: the direction it gives a player. Going around and killing monsters aimlessly to collect doodads is exactly what makes other games so "boring" in comparison. Going to collect magic stardust and then wander around trying to find a sick NPC to cure to complete a quest isn't a whole lot different than what you get in other games. It's the fact that the quest NPC, with the obnoxious yellow punctuation symbol over their head, gives you direction and promises you a reward that makes the quest system so effective.

Some thoughts from a developer and (well, former) WoW player.

Re:WoW is not a panacea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14758457)

"It still rewards conservative, riskless play rather than running into the enemy's nest with guns blazing. "

unless you're LEEEROOOOOY JEEENKEEENS! In which case it brings you eternal glory.


Robust Quest System? (5, Insightful)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753072)

I'm not a WoW player, but I did play a character up to level ~11 or so, and I was BORED out of my skull. I would do a quest, and while the description might have been thorough, I wouldn't call it fun or ideal. "In order to become a master ranger, go kill 10 beetles"

That doesn't do it for me. Maybe the high-level quests are fun, but then, that's not a good system, grinding up a ladded of xp and gear, the latter being hoarded by higher levels and sold at extortionary prices just to get to the fun.

I constantly compare other MMO-style games to Guild Wars, because ANet did a great job. When you start off, you're "recruited" by Sir Tydus, and told to go train to help the Ascalon Guard repel Charr invaders.

Compare that to killing beetles. I liked WoW, although it wasn't quite my style, but there are some things that just click or don't click with players. If you like it, you like it a LOT. If not, you play something else.

Despite my opinions on WoW, I think TFA points out the good foundations for a great game.

Re:Robust Quest System? (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753817)

To somebody familiar with the game (how to get around, the mechanics etc), getting to level 11 takes less than 8hr (far less - I'd probably do it in about 4). This is on a single character (which is only one out of eight races and and one of eight classes). A lot of classes don't even get class-defining skills until until they hit at least level 10 (ie - that's when the hunter gets his pet). Real PVP doesn't even start until your late teens. Compared to a typical single player RPG with 80-ish hours of gameplay, it's a serious 'achievement' to get to level 60 (which is where you start with endgame content - and there are many that argue that the game design is biased toward endgame players) in less than 5 days (120hr) of play time.

Understandably, it's not a game for everyone. MMORPGs are, almost by definition, pointless timsinks - but the same can be said for all video games, the only think missing from an MMO is a definite win condition.

While it would be nice to have more variability in quests other than "Take this [widget/message] to $NPC in $FAR_OFF_LAND" and "Kill $N $MOBS" (alternately, you have the nondeterministic "Bring me $N $WIDGETS" which involves killing at least 5*N $MOBs) but that's not terribly different than most single-player RPGs - the primary difference is that the single player RPGs seldom have body-count quests, they just throw obscene numbers of random encounters at you on the way to kill a boss. The main difference lies in the single-player RPG's ability to make you the center of the world while MMORPGs can't really let your newbie quests liberate the kingdom and have long-lasting effects.

Re:Robust Quest System? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754373)

If it takes 120 hours to reach a specific level, just say 120 hours and don't convert it to days. I don't know many people who can stay up for 5 days straight, playing a game or not.

As you said, it's not a game for everyone. I'm a gamer with a job, house, wife and small child and I find about 6 to 8 hours a week to play. If it takes 120 hours to reach the better content in a game, I'm not interested. It would take me 15 to 20 weeks just to reach that. This isn't about wanting instant satisfaction, but rather about making sure that the entire game is fun, not just parts of it.

Could put forth more effort... (1)

plonk420 (750939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758085)

my friend (who had to quit due to a new job and new city) said that you should play your characters to lvl 20 before making any decisions on races or even likely the game itself... and i found that to be OH so true, even on my first, pretty weak character. the world, your abilities and just things in general start to open up at level 16-18 and are just beginning to get fun at 20. i'd suggest giving it one more month. it's a blast! the only reason i'm not playing is due to a hardware shuffle that's left me waiting for a decent, affordable vid card (7600GT/GS, go go go)

Unreal expectations for a single GM (4, Interesting)

Universal Nerd (579391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753077)

I can understand clearly what he means, the world of online RPG - be it WoW or a NWN-Persistent World - is very compelling, especially when role playing is an important part of the game. It's clear that PnP games lack the visuals, special effects and dynamic movements of a MMO world.

That said and taking his advice into consideration, one problem still sticks out. Most pen and paper game have one GM while online games have, at least, a team of GMs - most aren't actually online all the time but they're all developing new content and quests for adhoc/preplaned parties of adventurers.

A PnP game needs to be scripted by the GM and conducted by him and that takes time and preparation, something that not all of them have.

Combat, in games, is decided in seconds (against weaker foes) but in a tabletop game, it might take a few minutes to squash a group of goblins, not to mention that combat has to be worked one player/monster at a time since the GM can only give full attention to one thing.

Good advice, but not very easily implemented without a computer with a NWN-like Aurora Toolkit to create your own fantasy world in.

Re:Unreal expectations for a single GM (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754219)

It's clear that PnP games lack the visuals, special effects and dynamic movements of a MMO world.

It is not so clear to me. When my party was almost killed by a bear a few weeks back, I don't think any visual effects designer could as effectively portrayed that bear as terrifyingly as my players minds' eyes could. The human imagination is after all not bound by the constraints of technological possibility; thus a party of good role-players with fertile imaginations and a merely competent GM can have a much more spectacular experience than any computer game can give.


He obviously never played WoW (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753088)

Many massively multiplayer games require that you kill endless armies of the same boring enemies to level up. You can do this in WoW, too, but the quest system is so robust and rewarding that you don't actually need to.

Of course you don't need to kill a metric fuckton of mobs in WoW to level up. However, you need to do a metric fuckton of boring repetitive quests for faction if you want to progress in the game after level 60. TB faction, city factions, Argent Dawn, Silithus (whatever the faction is called there), etc. It's nothing more than massive grind in disguise. Oh and good luck trying to get that High Warlord PvP title. Quit your job, divorce and give up kids. Then think about it.

When WoW characters group to tackle quests and dungeons, every class contributes different talents -- and every player has something fun to do. As a GM, you should design every adventure to include multiple opportunities for each PC to shine.

So what does a priest do in raids? Chaincast flash heal. Sometimes a group buff here or there. Awesome variety, zero fun. What does a warlock do? Summon others to raid then go AFK until called upon. I played both of these classes on raids, I can tell you, they are beyond boring. DPS warriors have fun because one encounter they are asked to tank and another to DPS, not to mention the warrior is hardest class to play. Rest of the classes are pretty much pigeonholed into one specific role: heal, damage or be on the borderline of useless (warlock).

Re:He obviously never played WoW (2, Funny)

Daravon (848487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753189)

Your obviously didn't know how to play a warlock. You forgot handing out healthstones to everyone, and every half hour using a soul stone on the priest. Then there's also the shadowbolt spam! ;) Endless fun. Four skills our of two dozen used. Weeee.

Re:He obviously never played WoW (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753207)

So what does a priest do in raids? Chaincast flash heal.

Then they go pvp and *click click click click* 4500 damage. Fear. snare. healed. Win.

*Click click click click* 4500 damage. Fear. snare. healed. Win.

*Click click click click* 4500 damage. Fear. snare. healed. Win.

*Click click* stunned. Wait for stun to wear off. Fear. *Click Click* 4500 damage. Snare. healed. Win.

*Click click click click*

That's called "balance" I'm told.

Actually, that's a whole other aspect (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14759347)

He basically talks about the start game in WoW, not about the endgame tar pit.

Yes, WoW starts fun and ends up just a repetitve mindless chore to keep you busy while you're still in the "but I'll lose my level 60 uber-char and all my online 'friends' if I quit!" denial stage. (Which, btw, starts with a rationalization stage along the lines of: "this is, uh, the meat of the game, really. I'm only doing it because, uh, it's _fun_ to spend 2 hours waiting for everyone to log on, to do the same raid for the 50'th time, and use the same 3 icons total on that toolbar." So if anyone plans to answer that, save your breath, I've heard that rationalization in-game a thousand times, and invariably it progresses to the next stage after a while. For some it just takes longer. Basically, I already know humans are great at rationalizing why they take crap.)

Blizzard can't put infinite content in the game, so basically they distributed the most of it where it matters: in the beginning, when you get addicted to their game. And it gradually goes downhill to the endgame point where you're given 2-3 raids to do over and over again. At that endgame point, the game basically already ended, they just won't outright admit it. Because if they admitted it, you'd cancel your account and stop paying for the next month too. That's all.

It's called resource management, basically: they used their resources where it makes them the most income. And only started worrying about the next 10 levels (which by the sound of it might just be an even more unholy grind for people who _really_ don't know when to give up) when they had enough level 60 people who just won't quit, so adding something for those might actually make a financial difference.

But to get back to the article, that's not what he means there. A tabletop GM doesn't have to have the _whole_ adventure prepared in advance. A GM doesn't have to give you the same raid over and over again at the end, just because that's where his game stops. If you've just finished an adventure, the GM is supposed to come up with a new one, not just send you to do the last dungeon again.

So basically I'm guessing is that he meant that GM's should learn from WoW's first half of the game, not from the grind after WoW's game already ended.

And he misses completely on most game systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753141)

By talking about classes. Nearly every game system in the 30 years after D&D first rolled out has dispensed with classes. They are a crutch for tabletop games. Online games may need them for the simplicity they bring to character generation, but they are a major limit on player creativity.

Ought to be the other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753169)

Lessons World of Warcraft Can Learn from Tabletop GMs.

Doesn't anyone else find tabletop campaigns to be a lot more fun than WoW? Every session in an adventure, managed by humans. None of that mindless questing. Obviously there's a limit to how much to can do in MMORPG fashion, which is probably why WoW is the way it is now.

Also (4, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753195)

1. Make sure there is a ridiculously powerful class/race combination in the game that requires absolutely no skill but that (with only five buttons) can do 350 damage per second perpetually at enormous range against other classes that have no defense whatsoever.

2. Put a race in the game whose only purpose is to be defeated by undead. Write this into at least four storylines. Celebrate the wanton destruction of a civilization that survived millenia only to be overrun by a maggot-infested gibbering rabble.

3. Require hundreds upon hundreds of hours of effort for a chance to roll on one purple item, only to be screamed at because you win.

4. Be really clever and make your "ugly" race the good guys (Cairne is Obi Wan Kenobi, Thrall is Abraham Lincoln) and make the humans led by a deranged genocidal maniac.

5. Give spellcasters the damage mitigation equivalent of a WWII destroyer.

6. Put elves in the game only so everyone else can make fun of them.

7. Put items in the game that by themselves are more powerful than a level 15 warrior.

8. Put trade skills in the game that never advance. Ever.

9. For the holidays, put Old Man Santa Winter five feet from the most crowded place on two continents.

10. Make sure all combat is designed around "make the other guy's character stop moving."

This man needs to get a life (3, Funny)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753228)

I started playing World of Warcraft (WoW) at the end of 2005, and it's been a blast so far.

In nearly 200 hours of gameplay, I can count the number of times I've logged off frustrated on one hand.

Quick math: 49 days this year means this guy has played 4ish hours a day.

Re:This man needs to get a life (1)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754604)

"Quick math: 49 days this year means this guy has played 4ish hours a day."

Either he has no life, or he has a great job. :)

Re:This man needs to get a life (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14757955)

A friend of mine tells me that during classes, half the students play wow. Music sucks anyway, so why bother with it?

Response to 9 Lessons (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14753297)

1. Everything should be fun

Agreed. However, grinding X number of monsters because you were told to for a reward instead of grinding X number of monsters for the XP and drops does not make it fun.

2. Details matter

Generalities of gameplay matter more. The group or die mentality of the end-game is a hold over from a lame scramble to cover lack of content in early EQ that should have been designed around a long time ago rather than perpetuated like pointless mazes in text adventure games.

3. Travel should be easy

Travel should be interesting. They only have to make it easy because the travel in between is boring. It would help if they didn't purposely put each part of a quest in different areas just so the travel in between makes it longer and seem more "epic." Rather than have you travel the same routes hundreds of times give players interesting things to do along the way.

4. Item management should be simple

Item management should be non-existent. I shouldn't be spending *any* time manipulating items around as it has nothing to do with gameplay. And if you do want to put it in as some sort of limiting factor, how about taking size into account? You can't carry 10 more flowers, but hey, you can carrying that dragon's head no problem.

5. Every class should have lots of things to do

Agreed. Clearly written by someone that has not gone on raids where every class gets to do one thing. Over. And over. And over. If anything it should be written as "Every class should have unique things to do" but that doesn't hold true in WoW for all classes either.

6. Style should shine through

Gameplay should shine through more.

7. Everyone should leave every session jazzed about the game

You clearly do not constitute everyone. Ending a session after giving up with a 2 hours wait in queue for battlegrounds or looking for a pickup raid or getting tired of said pickup raid after the 8th wipe does not constitute jazzed.

8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begins

It's better to do it right the first time.

9. Err on the side of being over-the-top

Especially when it comes to bandwidth and server capacity. Doh! Or better yet, how about don't err. Or at least don't make err's that other companies have made in the past.

Anonymous to avoid karma like the plague.

Oh, 9+ characters lvls 6-60. And done. See you in the next game that is fun until it is played out.

Re:Response to 9 Lessons (2, Insightful)

Flozzin (626330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753472)

I cant believe they modded you down for this. poitsn 2, 4,5 7,8 9 are dead on for the most part. Being jazzed after being camped by a 12 year old for 2 hours is hard. 5 - Yea be a water vendor and decurser..I mean mage...We die at the drop of a hat yet Rogues and Hunters are the ones who get the one shot one kill( aimed shot and ambush ).

Re:Response to 9 Lessons (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754873)

Corpse Camping is against the ToU, and if you report the guy doing it the GMs will take care of the problem.

Re:Response to 9 Lessons (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758899)

was modded down for being offtopic, if you RTFA it is about how Tabletop RPG's should take lessons from WoW.

Is this guy really a tabletop GM? (1, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753307)

1. Everything should be fun

Define 'fun'. I once RPed with a GM who would throw in random unexpected traps and then have us figure out a way of getting out of the trap Macguver-style. It was annoying at times, but the 'solutions' we came up with sometimes were hilarous. (One time we fell down a random pit hole and 'got out' by blowing out the floor only to fall down into a -pre-arranged- pit hole on the next floor below.)

2. Details matter


3. Travel should be easy

Why? Its bad enough people rush through their lives between work and home, why not take things slow enjoy the adventure rather than simply the rewards at the end?

4. Item management should be simple

Again, why? We've had gamers constanting asking 'how can my character carry 20 different sets of armor in one easy to carry, lightweight, gravity-defying bag?' for years and all of the sudden now we want to get rid of it because WoW lets you do the same thing AND lets you jump? Pick a side and stick with it. (And while you're at it, why does a single, unstacked flower take up the same amount of space as a Two-handed Sword?)

5. Every class should have lots of things to do

Considering some RP groups take into consideration weather conditions (-1 to movement in snow anyone?), building architecture (stone? take cover! rotting wood? get the hell out of there!) and even the lighting conditions of a room (for those rogues out there), some people say theres TOO much to do in table-top RPing.

6. Style should shine through

Uhh, we are talking about table-top RPGs right? Last time I checked, the only 'style' there was in the storytelling and thats completely unique to the individual.

7. Everyone should leave every session jazzed about the game

Again, why? In table-top RPing, one bad saving throw can kill your character. Does this cause players to not 'leave every session jazzed about the game'? Generally, yes. Does this necessarily make the experience bad? No.

8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begins

No, really? Most people call that reality, where things don't always go as initially planned.

9. Err on the side of being over-the-top

Again, why? If I start off on an adventure to find out what happened to a missing supply wagon of food supplies, why should I run into a goblin army or (worse) a dragon only to be rescued by a patrol of paladins or elven army coming to kill the dragon? (And no, WoW is not innocent of this as even simple 'kill X number of Y enemies' quests have been recorded to start 10+ multi-part quests. Araj the Summoner anyone?)

This guy is either a complete amature at being a table-top RP GM or a flat-out idiot. WoW is one of the WORST example of RPing there is. Alliance and Horde sides cannot communicate due to a built-in text scrambler (and 'cracking' it is a bannable offense), quests are either purposely designed to be done solo or require raid-sized groups to complete and the game is blindingly fast in comparison to any other RPG other there (table-top, console or PC).

Re:Is this guy really a tabletop GM? (1)

TacNuke (890744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14757126)

I agree with the comments of MMaestro. Now for some of my own for the OP.

This guy sounds like someone who has never had a good GM. Its all in the presentation of the game by the GM that makes it fun. WoW seems fun like a GM should be at first because the "world" of the game of WoW is immutable. WoW will not change itself to give you more items no matter how much you whine, unless you work for them, a PnP GM might however. WoW won't let the awesome spellcaster hog everyones time while he goes off and makes potions like it might in PnP game. (in Wow everyone just goes on without him)

I have been GMing since about 1985 and have GMed and played darn near every RPG out there. Am I a good GM? I would like to think so but not everyone would probably like my style. One thing I ultimately learned is that a good RPG session is one where the GM has absolute control over the game. Now this doesn't mean you rule with the obvious iron fist. Its about being subtle. WoW is anything but subtle. Its about the GM creating a World for the players to interact in and that world reacting back to them. When I GM the only thing I worry about is the plot of the story and If I think the players are not having any fun AND they have been trying to play their characters and have fun, then I alter my game ever so slightly to get things back on track. But the trick is not to be obvious about it.

Items 3, 4, 5 and 8 are generally helpful tips, all i would say is that you add the words "if the story calls for it". For example, while i think every class has its place, if the rogue is off gathering details on some bit of information and the other players have to just wait....thats fine because thats what the story calls for.

6 is just a dumb statement, a GM will develop a style as they go.

9 makes me think of a GM who is not in control of his game. Leave the over the top crap for the junior high crowd. (Like i was back in the day, it was fun at the time, not so much anymore.)

1, 2 and 7 all relate back to having fun (more or less). If a GM presents his/her game poorly it will show.

In short, its all about the GM and his/her ability to present his/her world and story.

still lacks the 'role' in mmorpg (4, Interesting)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753331)

I've had a WoW account since launch, played the beta, been to a few end game raids, and when reality set in, I've realized I was averaging around 5 hours a night every day, so I forced myself to quit after all the Molten Core raids netted me nothing except for lack of sleep.

Before WoW, I played Anarchy Online for about 6 months. I dont know what playability is like now on that, but in the initial months the networking issues and memory leaks caused the game to be virtually unplayable. I can't beleive I played AO for that long.

Before AO, I was an avid EQ player. I've logged on much much more time in EQ than WoW, but progression was much slower, but I've felt that the community in EQ was much more tight knit than in WoW (likely due to an attraction towards the older demographics of gamers). Gear in EQ was much harder earned, and people will recognize the hard work an individual went through in order to earn that epic weapon. I still miss EQ and the community it generated.

Before EQ, I was keeping up with the status of Origin and awaiting the release of Ultima Online. I think I've had the worst gaming experience with UO (in terms of stats), always being frustrated, always being PK'd (this was before OWO split the servers to PK and non-pk), trying to mine some metal, make some armor, cut some wood, all the while trying to stay alive and not lose hours and hours of work to some gang of punk kid tankmage player killers. Hopefully I'll earn a few bucks in order to get some basic gear so I can go out to adventure and kill some orcs, check out the other towns. And make sure I'm with enough people so I don't end up being another victim of someone looking for a cheap kill for easy loot. If you weren't careful, people can break into your house and strip it clean the next time you log in. Life in UO was a bitch, and you had to play HARD in order to simply survive. Wimps were relegated to the cities and barely left the borders.

My fondest memories of all MMORPG's are all from UO, but I've had the most fun playing WoW (the same type of fun I experience when I play Counterstrike). WoW is an extremely polished online game. But IMHO, WoW has even less roleplaying elements than it's RTS predecessors (you know, warcraft). WoW is simply an FPS draped in RPG elements. If you plan on PvPing in WoW, you better know your combat gametheory (and have all your action commands binded to shortcut keys for quick access). If you plan on PvEing in WoW, the better you know your combat gametheory against mobs, the faster you can grind. If you plan on joining end game raids, the smoother communication you have amongst your raid group, the less likely chance you have of wiping. Enough gametheory and time devotion will grant you certain notoriety in your local WoW server as a powergamer.

In UO, you weren't well known in your local server unless you were VERY famous (i.e. Hulkamania, Xavori, Imanewbie). All the powergamers wore cheap robes over their insane gear in order to hide their 'true abilities.' There was an element of distrust and deception in UO, and visual clues gave away nothing. But simply due to the fact that your actions can affect the servers you were on means there was a level of immersion that exists in UO that doesn't exist in current MMORPGS. For example, players got together to create their own player run cities. They built everything themselves, the buildings, furniture, everything.

The problem with permanence in the world is that it's easily exploitable. For several months, there was a land shortage as everybody and their mother went to plant their own house on any plot of land they could find. The number of houses were so many it began to affect gameplay against the rest of the world (random mobs that spawn in the world started to spawn in the houses, which were of course locked, which means you wouldn't run into it). Future MMORPG designers saw that and decided that players cannot have their own houses in the world. That's the start of it. They've whittled down everything that made a roleplaying game a roleplaying game, and kept only the stats portion of RPGs ingame (since stats don't affect the rest of the world; only other players-and spawnable NPCs). Little things like player run houses and cities are what I miss the most in current MMOs. (and yes, I am very very aware of the technical limitations of keeping world-effecting elements under control) 3rd Generation MMOs are nothing more than a statistics race to get the best stuff so you can brag to the next guy checking you out that you have The Ancient Axe, Slayer of Immortals(+256 STR)

The community created in WoW is largely driven due to the player to keep raising his stats, and nothing more. Nobody fishes for fun in WoW. Same thing with building trinkets, making clothing and food. Even building fires in WoW gave you stat benefits.

In UO, there were quite a few people interested in starting up an acting troupe and stage an entire play at the local theater house. And even more interesting, there were quite a bit of people interested in watching. Yes yes, it's incredibly geeky, but who the hell cares, it's a role playing game. Can you even imagine something like that in WoW? Even the mere suggestion of it would cause a lot of jeers and mockery in the WoW community. You would have the same luck of suggesting it in a game of quake, or counterstrike.

Remember a time when RPGs were a safe haven for geeks, to do geeky things?

Re:still lacks the 'role' in mmorpg (1)

magicchex (898936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753640)

My fondest memories of UO were buying my first house in a player-run city, then opening up a regent shop in it. I made enough money to eventually buy a larger house off someone in the same community. That was what most of my gameplay centered around as well as just hanging out in our town but I loved it.

Re:still lacks the 'role' in mmorpg (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754095)

All in all I agree with you, except for this one part.

Nobody fishes for fun in WoW. Same thing with building trinkets, making clothing and food. Even building fires in WoW gave you stat benefits.

My Pallie was a tailor, simply so that he could wear different clothes during RP. :)

Re:still lacks the 'role' in mmorpg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14755540)

Excellent write-up. I also played pretty much the same MMO's in the same order that you did. The only thing I have to disagree with is: "Nobody fishes for fun in WoW."

I have a toon with 300 fishing, and I have to say that I had quite a bit of fun just sitting there fishing and chatting with my guildies... :)

Travel should be easy? (1)

Paul McMahon (854063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753339)

Travel should be easy

Travel may be easy in WoW, but it sure is boring, and takes a rather long time. That was my main beef with WoW, why do I have to go through the same animated sequence time and time again.

Re:Travel should be easy? (1)

Shrubber (552857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755529)

Travel in WoW had one fantastic side-effect on me. After playing WoW and then going back to try City of Villains the former "slowness" of City of Heros/Villans travel was absoutely meaningless. You can get your travel powers in CoH/CoV by level 14, and I used to feel that it had to be that low because of how slow you are on foot. After WoW I felt like I was Jesse Owens.

Travel should be easy, and it should be fast when the things you're travelling by are simply not important when you don't need them to be.

The system makes the difference (1)

elfx86 (810722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753347)

1. Everything should be fun
4. Item management should be simple
6. Style should shine through
7. Everyone should leave every session jazzed about the game
8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begin

A lot of these lessons are really just traits of the game system. A game system will encourage a certain style of play and if that style is not something you can groove to, then the experience won't be that great. So perhaps the real lesson here is use a system that rocks, and your game will be great.

For an intresting article on this concept please read tter.html []

I wonder if they'll ever make it (2, Interesting)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753378)

It would be nice if someone combined the scale of WoW with some of the advantages of tabletop gaming.

I mean, have a full time staff of the sort of people who work at the renn fairs actually playing the major NPCs and monsters.

Imagine that if your raid got to the lower depths of Molten core and instead of a scripted encounter there were actual players behind the monsters.

NWN has a DM mode you can do, but I haven't heard of anything like this applied on an MMO scale. I can just see a lot of room for a more real experience.

Heck, even make a it a tiered system where valued members of the community can enter the lower npc ranks with different functions in return for a waive of the monthly fee.

I just see all of the great player-created worlds that blend almost seamlessly in some MUDs I've played, and I can't help wondering what neat things you could do to match those with a modern MMO.

Try Diamond Age (1)

dreamer-of-rules (794070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753673)

Read "Diamond Age"? They have something very similar. Actors around the world, brought together by broadband and good VR, acting out mini-parts on a just-in-time schedule. It's a neat concept that is fleshed out a bit more by Neal Stephenson.

Re:I wonder if they'll ever make it (1)

after fallout (732762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755121)

Even better maybe, if a player reaches a certain level in their account then they can choose to take the place of NPCs throughout the game, and as they level up their main account, they can get more options in the NPCs, example:
lvl 10-20 they can be some random NPC(monster) throughout the early world
lvl 21-30 they can also become NPC boss characters (whatever the stronger things in quests)
31-40 any non quest/non endgame NPC in the world
41-50 any quest NPC
51-59 any endgame NPC
60 "Quest Master" (could design quests for players to accomplish, like "guide me through the molten core to the far side and back without me dying and I'll give you this")

Additionally devise a voting system for who can get to be what NPC so high level guilds can vote who becomes what NPC (so better people can do it more often).

Re:I wonder if they'll ever make it (1)

antabus (858998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14757153)

I was going to reply with something similar.

To the GP, that's a great idea, hope someone important sees it. To parent, yeah, that would be a great way to do it. I'm sure there would be no shortage of players to volunteer to do it. I'd sign up in a second.

Re:I wonder if they'll ever make it (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758122)

I can see playing an NPC, but playing monsters would just suck. Your only job would be to loose.

Re:I wonder if they'll ever make it (1)

Locke03 (915242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758763)

Not necessarily. Normal mobs in particular are often found in groups. It would be interesting if the player of the monsters was given an RTS-type interface and control of all the mobs in a particular area. This would allow a regular player to move quickly and kill a few but force them to withdraw before they were killed. This would require some balancing work to prevent everyone to be immediately attacked by multiple mobs.

Re:I wonder if they'll ever make it (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758922)

a possible solution would be to not allow chat while playing as a mob also the pc-mob would still be limited by teather range.

Re:I wonder if they'll ever make it (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758912)

it would be a great way to keep control of griefers, as they would naturally gravitate to being able to PK with impunity, and thus would not be pulling unexpected shiat like training boss mobs into cities.

Santharia (1)

GoddessOfDeath (887416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14757645)

there is a forum-based role-playing game online called santharia - my best friend is nuts about it. It is pretty much like tabletop, except it consists of mainly roleplaying and very little actual statistics, eg no dice rolling for damage etc. Actually, it's more like co-authoring a book, almost. I realise this is probably not what you mean, but is pretty cool all the same. (they have designed a whole world)

Article sucks (1)

Flozzin (626330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753458)

I really think the "9 lessons learned from WoW" are rather obvious. I think that 200 hours playing wow is nothing, and is probably why the article stinks. Lack of actual experience. I have 45 days sunk into one character. 200 hours is not enough time spent to full understand all the aspects of WoW. While I think it is a great game, and I USED to enjoy it. There are flaws that show themselves after spending so much time playing. The comments about purple items taking months to get is correct, and it does suck, it does also make them more valuable. The main flaw with WoW is the players themselves. Big guilds always split. I have been through enough drama from that game that it will last me a lifetime. Another flaw is it needs and end. They keep releasing new tiers of items. How many times can they change the boss or the instance before you just see its one big item grind for no reason other then bragging rights. I saw a post about how the new gate requiring items to open is just a way to delay people getting the new gear and just buys GM's time..and its true. They really have nothing new to offer. I hate the reputation system. You play one character get exaulted after spending days of game time and your next character needs to do the same. I also agree that your characters need to start at a higher lever. I have so many lowbie characters i cant level just because I have done all those quests so many times is annoying. You also need more freedom in moving characters from server to server. The PVP system is flawed in the fact that any n00b with no job and school can sit and play AB( even AFK ) and get to the top ranks. I could go on about how this game is flawed, but I choose to stop here.

One wor(l)d... (1)

vitamine73 (818599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753524)

Eberron []

Lessons GM Can Learn from World of Warcraft (4, Funny)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753587)

* The all-new Pontiac Gryphon.
* Put up hot new cars at auction on late Friday afternoons, so that those who want to buy a new car to show off to their friends later that night and over the weekend will want to snap them up immediately.
* The totally-redesigned Chevy Mechanostrider. (A subcompact.)
* Lobby governments to raise the driving age to 40.
* Replace warning lights on dashboard with the phrases "u left key in ign kthx," "0ut 0f wip3r fluid!!!", "buff m3 w/ 0il plz," and "LFG >91 Oct."
* All cars will ship with Goblin(TM) Jumper Cables XL. (No guarantees on them actually doing any good.)
* 40-main raids on the super high-level Japan instance. Watch out for the Toyota and Honda boss encounters!

And, the number-one lesson GM can learn from WoW:
* To paraphrase Henry Ford: "You can paint it any color, so long as it's rouge."

Re:Lessons GM Can Learn from World of Warcraft (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754100)

To paraphrase Henry Ford: "You can paint it any color, so long as it's rouge."

Ok. Now I KNOW I spent too much time on the WoW forums... when I saw that, my first thought was "It's ROGUE, you goddamn mouthbreathing moron. ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE!!"

Then I realized it WAS a color you were talking about. I'm so glad I got out when I did.

And that was 6 months ago.

Only 200 hours? It's been out, what, 2 years now? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14753603)

Bah, that's nothing! In the original Baldur's Gate, I'd played a total of over 200 game days. Even excluding the time required to switch disks and load the next map section and the parts of the game that were replayed because I died, time paused during combat, etc. that's over 400 hours of game play. I'd guess it's closer to 600 hours when you consider everything else.

All the more startling when you consider that such a number of game hours were completed in a single semester of college, and that the total game hours represents a full 25 days of gaming (provided I didn't eat, sleep, take baths, or anything other than BG). Considering I did do all those things, plus go to class, I pretty much spent every damn spare minute on that cursed but delightful game...

Which isn't to say I'm more hardcore than you are, by any means. :P

Different Medium! (1)

Majikk (60247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754031)

Two of my hobbies include tabletop GMing and staffing at a MUSH. A MUSH, for those who aren't aware, is a text based roleplaying game. As staff, I help maintain the code, look over character applications, handle XP spend requests, and (most importantly) devise and GM plots for the players.

It's a fairly popular game. We get around 50-70 people during peak hours, and the most important thing you can learn when running a game in a MUSH is that MUSH is NOTHING like tabletop. Some things carry over, but if you tried to run a tabletop game like a MUSH or vice versa, you would fall flat on your face. Most of the conventions don't work (Combat, for instance, needs to be in short and intense bursts, otherwise it takes too long.)

I have a lot of trouble believing that a MMORPG... especially a self-proclaimed lowest common denominator MMORPG, is going to offer me lessons for my tabletop game. If anything, the suggestions from TFA help to cheapen a tabletop game. Fast and effortless travel?? What sort of messed up GMs does this guy have? Travel is part of the adventure.

In short: Nothing to see here, move along. People who don't know better walk among us... and apparently they both write and suggest really lame stories to slashdot.

Re:Different Medium! (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754105)

Which MUSH? It sounds interesting.

Re:Different Medium! (1)

Majikk (60247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754271)

Crucible City MUX. port 4626. We're a superhero game.

Here's five more lessons from World of Warcraft (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754068)

> As a tabletop RPG gamemaster, I've been thinking about
> what GMs can learn from World of Warcraft ever since I
> first logged in. After close to 200 hours of WoW time,
> I've come up with 9 lessons GMs can learn from World of Warcraft.

Here's five more, courtesy of the Imp:

1. People will perform boring, repetitive tasks ad infinitum if you give them little rewards. Note to self: figure out way to make lad enjoy and remember to take the trash out each week.

2. Giving something a glowing green, blue, or purple label will make them drool. See also: yellow, gold label. Note to self: re-wrap packages of broccoli and Brussels sprouts in shiny gold foil.

3. Mini-games like throwing a snowball or medicine ball, or leaping high into the air and turning into a snowman can entertain for hours. Note to self: raid bargain bin at CompUSA, splice in calls to said games via !shell commands to some 3D game with a scripting engine, and direct child's face to new "game" the way Benny Hill redirect's the lilolman's face, turning it with both hands then slapping him on the back of the head.

4. After 80 years of moving at a snail's pace, gaining a hideously expensive horse that lets you move at 1.5 x a snail's pace is, for some reason, considered awesome. Note to self: all he needs is a rusty 10 speed, not a car. Put green bow on it with gold foil lettering, "Awesum-o Speed Demon!"

5. Miniscule, statistically insignificant bonuses are slobbered over due to mathematical illiteracy. Note to self: Also add "+5 Iron -- Increases Strength" in shiny purple foil to broccoli, Brussels sprouts

Re:Here's five more lessons from World of Warcraft (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14758957)

5 is so true, My brother was talking about some piece of gear in WoW as being awesome because it had some HP enhancing buff, which was something along the lines of .05% of his HP. i explained to him that even with ALL of his gear having that buff he would have less than a 10% increase in HP.

in EQ2 almost all of my gear has either upgraded some stat by 3% or more or a significant increase in DPS, though i will pick up the fractional point improvements if they are free stuff like monster loot

200 hours? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754156)

Im sorry 200 hours, first char and not even level 60?

I dont think you are in position to judge the game yet :)

Now if your /played was 200 days, that would be helpful.

One they forgot to add (2, Funny)

triptogn (932201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14756558)

10: Make your friends wait outside of your house for hours before you let them in to play.

No real advice (1)

antabus (858998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14757041)

Am I the only one that thinks this article has less to do with regular PnP games, and more to do with WoW?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's great, I don't play it, but this article has maybe 2-3 lines og real advice for PnP GM's.

To me it seems like the author is more interested in promoting WoW, than doing what the article title said the article was about.

Itemization = Addiction (1)

DarthGreg (200749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14759335)

WoW DOES a lot of things right, but most gamers will burn through all of its wit and charm far before they stop playing it, as I did. You will hit a wall where the only way to advance your character is through itemization, and if you choose to follow that path you're in for a long and repetitive grind where you kill the same monsters over and over again clawing for reputation points or hoping on a random drop. This part of the game is not fun, but it is HIGHLY addictive and what the majority of long-term WoW players do. I have almost 1500 hours played on my main character SINCE I hit the level cap doing just that, more than twice the time I spent getting him to that level PLUS my time played across ALL other characters.

But then again, maybe that's what makes a "successfull" MMO.
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