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Vanguard Beta In Trouble?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the too-hardcore-for-you dept.

176

Heartless Gamer writes to mention a blog post exploring potential problems with the Vanguard Beta. The hardcore MMOG in development by Sigil has had some rocky times of late, and it sounds like the beta testers are right up at the top of the list of problems. From the article: "To the detriment of Vanguard, they (Vanguard's community) will protest any implementation that even remotely resembles a mechanic within World of Warcraft. Good or bad, it doesn't matter. If it's something within WoW, they want it O-U-T. Likewise, if you are from WoW, they want YOU out, too. They've already succeeded in driving out many of those testers. They're long gone and I can't say I blame them." Read on for other sites' commentary on this issue.

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176 comments

Not Invented Here (-1, Offtopic)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402281)

This is not an unknown phonominon in computer science circle. It's called NIH or Not Invented Here. It happens when the developers egos grow so big that they think they can do everything better and refuse to look at outside code/ideas except as an example of what not to do. Projects that fall to NIH syndrome suffer massive cost overruns, fail to meet expectations, and are frequently quite buggy as the developers overestimate their abilities and attempt to take on too much.

The only solution is to get better management that forces the developers to consider existing tried and true implementations and some existing practices. Sometimes the prima-donna devs will leave at this point, but in the long run it's better for the project.

I can appreciate the developers want to create a game that is not just a clone of WoW, but there is no sense at all in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If something works really well in WoW that's not a reason to avoid putting it in your game. While there are a lot of ways to improve on the MMO formula, at some level you still have to stick with the formula and the way Blizzard did it might just happen to be really smart.

Re:Not Invented Here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402330)


Way to RTFA.

It's not developers that are doing this, it's the hardcore, epeen waving, fanbois that have the WoW hate-on.

Re:Not Invented Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15403020)

Nuts to the article. This guy didn't even read the summary.

Vivendi moles? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403806)

it's the hardcore, epeen waving, fanbois that have the WoW hate-on.

Are you sure it's anti-WOW fanboys, or is it Vivendi employees who don't want competition that remotely resembles Vivendi's copyrighted game?

In some ways I can understand it (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402295)

The not wanting WoW players I mean. I have come to deeply despise WoW players myself as a pure example of the continued dumbing down of the gaming generation. Anything hard is bad, quick returns are good. And forget about any sense of rollplay.

But quite frankly its really stupid to hate mechanics from WoW cause some of them are REALLY very good. Worse most come from Everquest it's self, which a LOT of the hardcores hold as sacred, WoW just improved on this.

My take. Just get rid of the bad element of beta testers. Or better yet just ignore them when you know they are making a rediculous suggestion. It's their place to find the bugs, not dictate the design of the game.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402439)

Right with you until "rediculous." I only use greeniculous myself.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (4, Insightful)

Durrok (912509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402454)

I tend to disagree with you Falcon. There are many parts of WoW that are tedious and hard with returns that are definetly sub par. In the late 30s when you are given dozens of travel quests and are having to walk to new areas it is definetly hard to avoid getting killed by yourself by either mob or player. (IMO PvE servers shouldn't even be in this game, but to each his own) WoW definetly hit the MMO nail on the head with less swings and with far more accuracy towards what the players wanted then any other MMO. The general public wants a somewhat casual play enviroment. The general public does not want a hardcore MMO. Mark my words, the next extremely succesful MMO will be the one that takes WoW and adds to it. As of yet I haven't seen anyone trying to do this but it is only a matter of time.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (1)

Drey (1420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402489)

1) Not all of us playing WoW are from the "want it easy" mind set, thanks much.
2) It's "roleplay". "Rollplay" is what most computer and online RPGs already provide, just "roll" the virtual dice and move on.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402506)

"The not wanting WoW players I mean. I have come to deeply despise WoW players myself as a pure example of the continued dumbing down of the gaming generation. Anything hard is bad, quick returns are good. And forget about any sense of rollplay."

Good, become the polar opposite to the community you hate and become twice as obnoxious as a contrarian.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402554)

Well, its a game. Not a hobby. Not your second life. Not your outlet for social contact.

People want games to be accessible. Not frustrating. Life is frustrating. Games shouldn't be.

Vanguard isn't going to do well, and I think everyone over there knows that. They're just taking their anger out on the people they feel are responsible, aka WOW players.

--
It's been 16 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment!
Who do I email about this retarded flood protection?

Re:In some ways I can understand it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402953)

It's been 16 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment!
Who do I email about this retarded flood protection?


Get an account and don't post anonymously. That only ever happens to me when I'm trying to post anonymously.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15403109)

The not wanting WoW players I mean. I have come to deeply despise WoW players myself as a pure example of the continued dumbing down of the gaming generation. Anything hard is bad, quick returns are good. And forget about any sense of rollplay.

I'm gonna have to ask you to clarify that. Define "hard". Keep in mind that "takes a long time" isn't hard, it's annoying. Something that requires skill is hard. Something that just anyone can do over a long period of time isn't hard, it's boring. The reason I ask is because you're apparently an FFXI player [slashdot.org] and the standard FFXI player seems to think WoW is "too easy" because things don't take forever.

Quick returns are good, keeping in mind that a quick return can still be a failure. FFXI has plenty of things where you get one try every day (real time) or so. They're "hard" because you have to beat out the 20 gold farmers camping the single spawn point. Succeed in getting it, and you have a 1/20 chance of getting the drop. While that does mean that it's hard to get the drop, it's not hard due to any skill requirement. It's hard because it requires a lot of luck and time.

Compare with WoW, where you might have a 100% chance of getting something if you complete some difficult task. There are plenty of instances in WoW where you'll have to use a large set of abilities to manage to succeed. Fail, and you can try again very quickly instead of packing up and waiting until tomorrow. That's hard, but not due to a time requirement, due to a skill requirement.

So, please. Explain your statement. The rest of your post I agree with completely, I just want to understand why you think WoW "dumbed down" gaming. If anything, WoW is harder to play than FFXI in terms of skill - although not time.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (2, Informative)

toolie (22684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404415)

I'm gonna have to ask you to clarify that. Define "hard". Keep in mind that "takes a long time" isn't hard, it's annoying. Something that requires skill is hard. Something that just anyone can do over a long period of time isn't hard, it's boring.

That is the same crap a bunch of EQ2 players think is hard. Needing to wait days or hours in realtime for something that can be killed in 30secs isn't 'hard', it is completely assinine. Hard requires some kind of skill, not how much you can ignore real life and how much caffeine or other stimulants you can pump into your body to try to stay awake through the ultimate in boring.

If a mob is spawned that you need when you get close, but completely devastates you so that you have to try multiple times to kill - that is hard, challenging, and fun. If the challenge is in how long you can wait in one place for something to happen, that isn't hard or fun.

One thing people constantly say is that finishing a long (timesink-wise) quest or getting a super-rare spawn to advance a quest gives them a sense of accomplishment. I don't think people realize there is a difference between the feelings of 'relief' and 'accomplishment'. The feeling of finally not having to wait for a long-spawn or other stupid timesink is a lot closer to that of relief than accomplishment.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (1)

objwiz (166131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403542)

And forget about any sense of rollplay.


This reminds me of an encounter I had years ago playing DAOC. I was not part of group and a group leader approached me about joining his group. I asked him what does it gain for me to join your group. He mentioned various things about how the group works together and stuff. He also said "we are into roleplaying". So I asked him, "how should I address you? as my lord?". His response "Just call me Tom {w/e his char name was}".

Which brings me to my point of writing this: I think that in todays environment the true sense of roll playing is lost. Roll playing is "Im a orge so my guy looks like an orge as the game graphics show" and thats about it.

Lost are the days of sitting around a table with some dice and graph paper and, maybe even, a few pewter knicknacks where real group dynamics and game play made real roll playing possible and even enjoyable.

Today, the games pretty control how our characters look, with permitted customizations. Talking is the form of IM where details are easily lost and its more effective to use :=) faces. And so it looses that ability to really have a good sense of role play.

So then it is a lost "way", so to speak", of true role playing. The environment doesn't really support it in the purest sense.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (1)

joeljkp (254783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404762)

I'm somewhat intrigued by the idea of true roleplaying, but I haven't had any D&D or boardgame experience. It sounds to me, though, that the definition of "true roleplaying" is simply to completely assume the role of the character you're playing as if that character was really you. Talk like the character, do things the character would really do, etc. All in-game, of course.

But when I tried "roleplaying" with some people in an MMO I was in (SWG, to be precise), it simply came across as forced. People started talking differently, formally, calling themselves sir and madame and talking like lords in a royal court.

To me, true roleplaying is assuming whatever character you've taken on for yourself. Why do you have to call the other character "lord"? Was it a medieval game and you were actually his servant? What if he really did want to be called Tom? Why do you suddenly have to use proper "olde englishe" when you're roleplaying? Do Star Wars characters not use slang and speak in fragments?

So in short, roleplaying is interesting, yes, but different people see it different ways. And the way I've seen it does just seems... well, silly.

And as an aside, if I were making an MMORPG, I'd have an RP tag or something that each character could turn on and off easily. It would show up beside messages in the chatrooms to mark RP comments as opposed to RL comments.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403604)

I have mixed opinions, about the dumbing-down as you call it.

I kind of miss the old-thrill of the guild dungeon crawl in UO, when you never knew if the PKers were out. Playing in a "safe" dungeon, where you only have to worry about stategy against the monsters, while is still entertaining, it just doesn't have the same adrenaline flow. But at the same time, I don't miss the lack of griefers, and the ninja looting.

Game design is always a trade-off. The majority has voted that they don't like perma-death. Is that _really_ "dumbing down" the gameplay?? Some just don't find permanent death fun -- I know that I certainlly don't, especially when you die to lag!

So before you start criticising the 'duming down', you may want to clarify what you mean. See my other post on risk/reward.

--
Game Design is about the unholy trinity: Realism, Logicalness/Consistency, Convenience
Unfortunately, far too mamy players are argueing about the wrong thing, usually the red herring of realism.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404034)

Ok so roleplay has nothing to do with MMOGs. WoW, EQ, Vanguard, no. The hardcore EQ group, which I used to fraternize with has no use for it either. It may mean that you fill the functional role of your class (cleric heal, warrior tank, wizard nuke, etc.), but that's it. The setting is just for eye candy.

The question is how hardcore you have to be to get to the top. In EQ only really good guilds made it. They gradually relaxed a bit so less hardcore guilds could stand a chance (but only that), but that was EQ. In WoW I see marginal guilds farming from AQ40. They often play badly, characters do stupid things, half are PVP specced yet in raid guilds, but often they win anyhow. In EQ anything less than a flawless performance from canonical character roles on hard content is a wipe.

They want something more hardcore than EQ ultimately is right now (many see PoP and similar expansions as impure concessions). Yet the only feature of EQ that may appeal to a broader and less hardcore audience is that EQ's raids are very much superior to WoW raids (mostly do to more refined but narrow character roles). By that I mean the encounters were more challenging and required better coordination (before anyone had vent or team speak). Otherwise they're making a game that maybe only a few hundred people will play. Good luck on that, I'll be on Gilneas.

Almost every mechanic in WoW that people like, are things hardcore people would hate. They're convenient, but too easy. Getting an epic in EQ required figuring out what you needed, never mind where it might be or how you might get it. In WoW it's spelled out. Hell in EQ it was a bitch just to figure out how to trigger a quest, you had to come up with the right string. In WoW...just click. I could go on.

I'm happy with WoW. I wish the raids were better, even if they had to eliminate PvP...but >50% like to PvP so I'll cope. I wouldn't go back to EQ or something worse if I were paid to, life is too short.

Re:In some ways I can understand it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404090)

"I have come to deeply despise WoW players myself as a pure example of the continued dumbing down of the gaming generation"

I find this attitude genuinely puzzling. Are you seriously suggesting that back in the old days when you'd spend two or three hundred hours (in-game) killing 50,000 rats just so you could scrape together 39 copper pieces gamers were somehow more intelligent?

My view is this: a game is entertainment. Repetitive, boring activity in not entertaining. Count me firmly on the side of easy, fast and now!

Can't say I blame them... (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402297)

"To the detriment of Vanguard, they (Vanguard's community) will protest any implementation that even remotely resembles a mechanic within World of Warcraft. Good or bad, it doesn't matter. If it's something within WoW, they want it O-U-T."

Even though WoW is fun (and addicting), if I was playing another game it would be rather annoying to see WoW with just another game engine slapped over it. If you want to play WoW, then it is already there and waiting for you.

For those who want to play something different... Well... It would be nice to have sometehing other than the old "kill things over and over to level up to kill bigger things over and over again to level up to kill bigger things over and over again" because that is pretty much the same formula of WoW, EQ 1/2, and every other MMOG known the man these days. (SWG and UO rest in peace)

Re:Can't say I blame them... (5, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402712)

Even though WoW is fun (and addicting), if I was playing another game it would be rather annoying to see WoW with just another game engine slapped over it. If you want to play WoW, then it is already there and waiting for you.

Vanguard could use elements that work great in WoW and implement them with their own gameplay elements. For example, WoW has proved that instances are fun and needed. Not to mention instances allow very creative encounters and great rewards for players because the designers control everything (including the number of people involved in the instance). Take away instances and you have good old issues that plagued EQ: boring fights, retarded competition for mobs where by guilds/players camp mobs. It augments the number of support calls and it encourages griefing. Which avenue did Vanguard chose? No instances. Yes they are planning to put boss mob encounters "on demand", sort of semi instance but even then, they will never be able to make awesome and complex encounters like WoW endzones have (well minus MC). You can't have a complex scripted encounter if you can't control the number of people during the encounter (aka no instances) because guilds will "zerg" it. EQ has proved that.

The more and more I look at Vanguard reminds me of EQ with all their faults. Lot of grinding, no instances, heaven for griefers and gold farmers. Most modern games have implemented ideas from other games, WoW is a perfect example of very little innovation but they cherry picked the stuff that worked in other game. Instances from Anarchy Online, fast paced combat from City of Heroes, PvP from DAoC, humor from ... well ok, Warcraft, and so on.

Vanguard will be a huge flop. The designers who were responsible for the worse flaws EQ had didn't learn from their own mistakes, they are the ones designing Vanguard.

Re:Can't say I blame them... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402972)

I think they stated at the beginning that they are designing Vanguard to be as much like early Everquest as possible.

Re:Can't say I blame them... (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403013)


Then it will either

a) fail (most likely)
b) be a niche title (second-rate production values)

Most consumers don't have patience for a game that's actively hostile to them. So either the game will fail, or the game will intentionally not be marketed to the mainstream.

b) from the get-go (2, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403080)

They are aiming at the hardcore gamer from day 1. No suprises there.

Instancing is a Good Thing on busy servers. I agree. However I think they are some of the more creative minds creating games right now and I'm excited to see the alternatives they are implementing. Non-instanced housing I think will be amazing, for example. Seeing housing that belongs to players in a city just makes the world that much more real and identifiable.

Re:b) from the get-go (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403891)

But how big is the "hard core" MMORPG market? Is it worth it to spend all this money on something to develop if they're going to have a small core population? There are people that like playing Zork style text adventure games....should a company cater to them too and charge them 14 bucks a month? There has to be a give and take attitude. You have to make it fun (it's a game you know...fun enters into the equation at some point) while also making it challenging and interesting. You can't please everyone, but there IS a balance. It just takes a talented mind to find that balance.

As far as non-instanced housing is, I hope this NEVER comes out for Vanguard or WoW for that matter. Did you ever play Star Wars Galaxies before it died? There were player made houses all OVER the fricken place...and it actually just turned into useless clutter. But it doesn't matter anymore as SWG is gone now.

Re:b) from the get-go (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404080)

But how big is the "hard core" MMORPG market?

Not 5 million but big enough. See Everquest. It is still alive and kicking. They are still releasing expansions, and even though they performed server mergers last year to keep a certain "critical mass" of people on each server they are opening at least 1 if not 2 new servers next month.

You can't please everyone, but there IS a balance.

Agreed - but they are favoring this balance towards the more hardcore gamer instead of the casual one. That's fine by me.

Did you ever play Star Wars Galaxies before it died?

Nope. Huge fan of the Star Wars universe, but I knew it would never work as a MMO. Everyone wants to be Luke, Darth and Han. No one wants to be the commoner ... anyways the housing as of right now ***is*** non-instanced but I am pretty sure it is zoning-restricted. I could be wrong.

Re:b) from the get-go (1)

Winlin (42941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404596)

'See Everquest. It is still alive and kicking. They are still releasing expansions, and even though they performed server mergers last year to keep a certain "critical mass" of people on each server they are opening at least 1 if not 2 new servers next month.'

    Not only that, but the server they are opening next month will be starting with the 'old world' type setting...no books to insta-travel with and so on. There seems to be a strong interest in it, which says to me that there are quite a few people who will trade new style convenience for old style immersion. Me for one:)

Re:b) from the get-go (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404758)

Really? Now that IS interesting. I may have to look more into that.

Re:Can't say I blame them... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403214)

The more and more I look at Vanguard reminds me of EQ with all their faults. Lot of grinding, no instances, heaven for griefers and gold farmers.

Ah... I was under the impression they were bashing anything "Grind-esque" and lumping WoW and EQ into the same branch of game play. WoW and EQ are pretty much the same to me except WoW is easier (and more fun) to play and has taken care of a great deal of problems EQ had.

I was thinking they were scraping both for something new, but it appears by what everyone is saying that it is just EQ with a new game engine instead. Ah well.

Re:Can't say I blame them... (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403516)

Exactly. Vangaurd is planning on taking everything people hated about EQ, and making it worse.

Grinds- check. Expect a long hard grind for levels
Farming- check. Expect to do tons of cash farming
Camping- check. No instances, so expect either a "play nice" rule or guilds fighting for spawns
Death penalties- check. Harsher than EQs, according to articles I've read
Long travel times- check. No fast transport or teleports at all.

Yup, not touching this one with a 10 foot pole.

Re:Can't say I blame them... (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403464)

Since we're obviously discussing elements of RPG's here...why is WoW even mentioned, at all?

The article is pretty specific that the problem is with testers that want the game to be absolutely nothing like WoW in any way shape or form...but WoW is just an RPG...how can one make an RPG with absolutely ZERO elements in common with WoW? WoW presents absolutely NOTHING original to the genre, not a god damned thing.

Sounds to me like these people don't want an RPG, but the developer is making an RPG and trying to appease these people. See my other post for what's really going wrong here.

Re:Can't say I blame them... (1)

Aranth Brainfire (905606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404150)

Honestly, Vanguard doesn't look to me like something for people who want "something different". It looks like it's for people who want the current things, but done slightly differently, hopefully better.

Guild Wars was different. Vanguard looks like it's shaping up to be like WoW- nothing new, just the (good?) stuff that's tested true.

Hell, that's even how they describe it in the FAQ.

reap what you sow (2, Interesting)

michealo (813339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402319)

vanguard was to be the saving grace for the worst of the community that left EQ looking for "the vision". shame they realized way too late that the "vision" is still locked away in 1999 and the vast majority of MMORPG gamers to do not want that sort of carrot on a stick type of grind.

Re:reap what you sow (2, Insightful)

nops (907179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402368)

Every MMORPG relies on carrot on a stick grinding, from EQ to WoW. The only exception might be things like Star Wars Galaxies, and look at how well that's doing!

Re:you forgot Ultima Online and Eve (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402461)

I think Eve is very much alive and kicking and Ultima Online is shambling along it isn't mutated form. Ultima Online doesn't require massive level grinding... Perhaps casual play for 6 months and hard core for about 2-3 if you wanted to max a character out. The key feature I always liked about UO wasn't that you were constantly grinding but you could go out and do things other than level progression.

Re:you forgot Ultima Online and Eve (4, Interesting)

Mente (219525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402626)

Yeah, I think EVE is the best at battling the grind. There are still grinds that can be done. Grind for money. Grind for standing.

I've played many of the larger MMORPG's out there (UO, EQ1/2, SWG, WoW, and EVE). EVE is truely unique. CCP has bucked the trend in a lot of areas and almost all of them work. 1 server. Letting you know the population (which continues to go up all the time). Skills train over time, even when offline. No way to speed up the process (except learning skills that aid in the processes).

Roleplay is a little difficult because there really isn't an Avatar running around. You are essentially your ship. But other than that, the game has a lot to offer. I jumped in late(Jan 06), years after release. However, the way everything is layed out, you don't feel completely useless unless you grind to the top. Because there is no top. You just keep learning skills. /commercialover

Re:you forgot Ultima Online and Eve (3, Informative)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403408)

Roleplay is a little difficult because there really isn't an Avatar running around.

Actually, I'd be inclined to disagree. In Eve, roleplay takes it's form in Corporation Management. So you can't pretend to be a dancing catgirl. Instead, you take a leadership role that requires the player to act the part. Be responsible, smart, and decisive. Or you can choose to be a pirate, ruthless and coldblooded. So you just wiped out someone's work for a month in thirty seconds. He should have payed the ransom.

Interpersonal politics make a huge part of the Eve experience. From forming alliances to elbowing out rivals, the role playing element of Eve isn't dictated by the cute and fuzzy animated cartoon, but by the results your actions bring. The hand-off approach from the creators really pays off when your corp takes over a new zone to bring it's own brand of order. You *can't* script that.

Re:reap what you sow (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402542)

Welcome to Maslow's Hierarchy. You may say you don't want the grind and carrot on a stick, but most players subconsciously do. The joy of virtual self actualization.

-Rick

Re:reap what you sow (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403538)

No, most people don't. EQ didn't manage to break through to the larger market. WoW did, but look at how many 60s quit daily because of nothing but grinds at 60. There's definitely a big enough set of people who like it to make a succesful game, but its far from the majority.

Re:reap what you sow (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403760)

I should have clarified, most MMORPG players. And WoW is a perfect example of Maslow's hierchy. As soon as the player reaches the end game, they have acheived the most important step of self actualization. At that point, the game has deminishing returns on what it can offer players.

Many upcoming (and some existing) games are getting more and more dynamic. With these more dynamic worlds, hitting the max out level is not always the primary goal. Sure, hitting the max level is great, but who really cares? Creating a massive city and ruling over it where everyone knows your name is even more rewarding. And if someone finds it rewarding to build something, someone else will find it rewarding to tear it down.

-Rick

Re:reap what you sow (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403846)

No, the point in getting to 60 was doing PvP and killing other people :) Of course Blizzard fucked that up, and since then the game went down the tubes.

I don't know of anyone who plays WoW because they want to hit 60. I'm sure they exist, but its a minority. They play because they like the social aspects, or the combat aspects, or the instances, or some combo of these. Self actualization has nothing to do with it.

Re:reap what you sow (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403928)

"Self actualization has nothing to do with it."

I couldn't disagree more. If you took leveling out of the game entirely, and just put everyone at level 60, the game's population would plummet.

-Rick

Vanguard fails... (2, Insightful)

ChozSun (49528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402325)

... because they think slow grinding and slow traveling is fun.

Shocking, we are hearing reports of them struggling.

Re:Vanguard fails... (2, Insightful)

Tipa (881911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402425)

I don't think grinding is fun. At all. Just wanted to say that first. Should always be a REASON for getting experience. In EQ2, getting xp and levels (for me, anyway) is just a by-product of doing quests; I haven't yet had to grind levels like in EQ1 or (to a far lesser extent, of course) WoW.

But what is wrong with slow leveling? Fast leveling separates friends from each other. A friend in WoW I met in my 30s just blew past me to 60 and we couldn't group again for weeks. Fast leveling means you never really get to do everything there is to do at a certain level. I spent no more than a day or two in any particular zone of WoW, except for the Barrens.

Slow leveling is not a bad thing.

Grinding is bad.

Re:Vanguard fails... (1)

ChozSun (49528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402549)

That is where MMORPGs have it wrong. Instead of trying to be like Pencil/Paper, they are devolving into this huge grindfest/lewtgetting non-fun non-game.

MMORPGs will go into the next generation when they are able to reproduce what we have in Pencil/Paper.

Re:Vanguard fails... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403259)

"MMORPGs will go into the next generation when they are able to reproduce what we have in Pencil/Paper."

And if you can produce a working game design that does that while still supporting thousands of players, I know a few people with a lot of money to spend who would be very interested in seeing it.

Re:Vanguard fails... (1)

ChozSun (49528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402639)

Let me put it in another way.

I currently play in one A Game of Thrones D20 campaign.

I am level 9. We will not get past level 10. I have 2 swords (normal, everyday, non-magical swords), a bow and leather armour. Nothing on me is magic. We don't deal with magic.

I have never had so much fun in my gaming life. Why? Because it is not about who or what you can kill but what you can do.

I have kidnapped a princess and quite possibly started a war. The thrones was overthrown. Since I knew the error of my ways, I helped the ursurper. At the end of the war, I was allowed to live however I have to help guard a ice wall from Barbarians for the rest of my days. I made a decision and my decision changed me and the world immediately around me.

My character can defend with no problems but he has a hard time doing damage. I think I have killed like 2 people in my life. That is what an MMORPG should try to get to.

Don't tell me it can't be done. I have seen all the "can't-be-dones" undone by WoW, of all things.

Re:Vanguard fails... (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403481)

And let me put my comment another way.

You have three thousand people playing the same game. How many of them are going to overthrow the Iron Throne? How many princesses are out there waiting to be kidnapped? Will each and every one of them get to start a war in the Seven Kingdoms?

The reason that online games tend to be filled with repeatable, low-impact content is because even after one group of players goes through it there will still 2,994 other people who want to keep playing the game. The reason that pen-and-paper games have more involved storylines than MMORPGs is not because there are computers involved and not because the developers are lazy, it's because there are so many more players.

Consider this. A GM runs a weekly p-n-p game session for five of her friends. To do this she will put in something like an hour or two of prep time laying out plot elements, NPCs, locations, and possible alternatives based on what direction the players decide to take the story in. All this for a four hour game night with five other people.

Now let's look at the same level of involvement on the MMORPG scale. You have a persistent world with somewhere around 3,000 people logged in during peak hours. Just to be nice, let's say that if you look at the entire week of play time there are an average of 1,500 people logged in at any given time. That's the equivalent of 1,200 groups of people taking their four hour play sessions every day, or 8,400 p-n-p sessions every week.

In order to provide the same amount of story development you would need a team of GMs to put in 8,400 hours preparing new adventures for all of those people, or 224 full time GMs working 37.5 hour weeks doing nothing but producing content. And that's not even considering that they are all working in the same shared world and will need to coordinate their work to avoid completely screwing one another over with conflicting storylines.

Even if their pay and benefits are rather modest their salary and supporting costs are still going to cost something like two million dollars annually just to run one server. With a total server population of roughly 5,000 people that's still an extra $40 a month, roughly triple the average MMORPG bill nowadays, for each player just to get something near the level of attention they expect from a smaller game.

The thing is that even if there are hard-core gamers who would pay that kind of money there are nowhere near enough of them to support it as a business model. It just doesn't make money, and that's why it isn't happening.

Re:Vanguard fails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402901)

Slow leveling separates you from your friends far more than fast leveling does. So your friend blew past you to 60. Why do you think you'd catch up to him faster if it took you 10x to level?

    Michael

And yet (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402834)

And yet there are thousands of us wishing we had made it into the closed beta.

Vanguard will be huge. Lots of us are just biding our time waiting for its release. Quite frankly, I say its a Good Thing that they get rid of anything WoWish. The core Dev team has its roots in EQ (989 studios / verant interactive / etc). It is expected that this game will cater to the hardcore gamer, not to the casual one.

Re:And yet (1)

Mondoz (672060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404057)

"Vanguard will be huge."
"...this game will cater to the hardcore gamer, not to the casual one."

I don't see how this can be anything but mutually exclusive.
WoW has a lot of content for both casual and hardcore gamers, and has become 'Huge'. (The amount of content available to each group is debatable.)

The number of casual gamers out there far outweigh the hardcore ones.
If a new game (Any new game) caters only to hardcore gamers, the numbers in the potential customer base will prohibit it from becoming anywhere as popular as WoW.
.

.

"I say its a Good Thing that they get rid of anything WoWish."

I say this is a very dangerous and closed-minded thing to say.
For this game to be so immensely popular, it must be doing something right.
Your suggestion is to remove all the elements that make it such a successful game, and make a new one out of the result.
Why do you think this will be any good?

Re:And yet (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404134)

Why does everything have to have 5 million customers and be a "WoW clone" to be successful? WoW is a watered down MMO. Levels are easy, the endgame converges on 3 instances, the raiding content is sparse, there is very little to do once you are 60 ... they made a simple game, no wonder it is popular, simple minds, simple games!

I don't care if I am close minded. There are a lot of us waiting for a game that is hardcore, that has strict rules, that doesn't hand you levels and gear on a silver platter. Remember, this game started development long before WoW hit the table - why should they go back and change their ideas just because WoW is popular?

People will jump out of the woodwork to play this game. These developers have upwards of 10 years of experiance now, having developed Everquest as 989studios. People two years ago were ready to pre-order this game as soon as it was a possibility. It is rare that a game is so well-received.

Goths? (3, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402446)

Enter the "IT SUCKS BECAUSE IT'S POPULAR" crowd. Less than a dozen comments in this thread thus far and half of them are people who hate WoW because it's "dumbed down."

Listen up, guys, WoW has 5.5 million+ subscribers because what it's doing is good, not bad. It's not dumbed down, and if - like me - you spent hardcore-style hours raiding to get the best stuff, you'd know that.

But no, like the guys at Vanguard, you can't get past appearance. If it's popular, it must be bad.

Re:Goths? (3, Insightful)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402691)



Listen up, guys, WoW has 5.5 million+ subscribers because what it's doing is good, not bad.

Reality TV gets a lot of viewers - as does Fox News for that matter. McDonalds sells a lot of burgers. The Da Vinci Code book/movie/hype train is sheer nonsense yet it's taken millions already. This is not because what these ventures are doing is good per se - it's because they've been designed to reach out to the lowest common denominators in order to have a broad appeal.

It's not dumbed down, and if - like me - you spent hardcore-style hours raiding to get the best stuff, you'd know that.

Oh I beg your pardon - I thought you were talking about WoW but clearly I must have misunderstood.

Re:Goths? (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403573)

Thank you, couldn't have said it better myself.

WoW is not impressive by most veteran RPGers, by any stretch of the imagination.
WoW is first and foremost designed as a time, and by extension via their payment model, a money sink. Period.

There is nothing innovative, new, or interesting in WoW. It does package up everything that is tried and true in the area with a nice pink bow though in just such a way as to hit that lowest common denominator as hard as possible.

There's simply no way those same 5.5 million lemmings would have any clue whatsoever about how the mechanics of a truely advanced RPG work, and why.

I'll regret this, but I'll bring up Oblivion now. I'm playing it. I love it. I don't care what the detractors say, it is the most original RPG to come along in a VERY long time. Despite what they say, it absolutely IS an RPG. Advanced D&D it is not, get over it. But dumbed down for the masses it is not either. It is accessible to the masses, and can be reasonably played simply as a 'hack n slash' with rpg elements, but at it's core is the most original RPG system to come along in a VERY long time. For those that care to, there is a LOT to delve in to there.

Interestingly, the WoWers et al are ripping this game to shreds. Almost all of the horrible reviews or comments I've read about Oblivion can be traced back to either a) someone that thinks it should have been WoW or b) someone that thinks it should have been AD&D to a t, nothing more and nothing less. Quite obviously, for anyone with half a brain, Oblivion is neither of these in any way shape or form, and never was intended to be...in other words, Quit bitching because it wasn't made for you anyways!

(Let's not drag this in the wrong direction now because I brought up Oblivion though, I am not professing anything about it short of what I specifically stated, other than my comparisons made, it is completely irrelevant to the conversation, and I offer no opinions whatsoever on the game itself beyond this)

Re:Goths? (2, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404171)

WoW is not impressive by most veteran RPGers, by any stretch of the imagination.

Veteran RPGer here. Started playing AD&D back in 1980...then went on to Call of Cthulhu, Morrow Project, Danger International and Fantasy Hero blah blah blah. Me and my group of friends were pretty hard core about it all, but just to have a lot of fun and laugh our asses off.

Then I got into MMORPG's, got on to EQ a few days after it's original release. I knew from the very start it was NOTHING like role playing games. No computer game I've ever played...EVER...was like a role playing game. Not one. But I still had fun with them and I had a blast with EQ.

I tried the other games when they came out like Camelot and Anarchy Online and Star Wars Galaxies....but they didn't grab me like EQ had and I actually became a little nostalgic with EQ and missed some of the places I used to run through. Like visiting a town you grew up in or something. Also EQ seemed bigger back in the old days as it would take a LONG time to run from Qeynos to Freeport if you didn't have a port. It was a challenge. Now, you can just hop over to where you need to go...though I'll admit, it's been years since I've played it.

Then WoW came along. It seemed interesting and the style looked nice. I played in the beta for a while and got hooked in. It was fast, it was fun and I still play it. Is it an RPG? Of course not. As I said before, none of these games are RPG's. That doesn't mean that I like it. I'm a "hard core RPGer", yet I love WoW and the friends that I've met there.

Not even Oblivion is a real RPG...it's a videogame. Yes, I play it. I'm still playing it and it's a lot of fun, but in the end it's all scripted stuff and can't for a moment throw a really WEIRD curve ball at you like a live person controlling another character. It has great stories. It's very deep and of course it's very beautiful to run through...but not for once did I feel like I'm inside the game. I always feel like I'm playing a video game. No matter where I went, I always knew that nothing could happen to me because if I died I was a quick save-game away...and that's really the crux of the problem. When you play a pen-and-paper RPG, when you're character died, that was it for the night for you. At least it was when we played. But it was still a blast to watch how everyone else was playing after you died and see if they could get out of it....or depending on what game we were playing if they could drag my corpse to a healer or not (if they didn't loot my corpse and use me for food, but that's another story).

So what am I saying? I would suggest not trying to compare apples and oranges. To me, videogames and RPG games are two totally different things. I'm not saying one is better than the other, it's just they're different and you're not going to get the same experience from either. I simply sigh when I see yet another developer trying to chase this elusive demon and then proclaim: "it's like the old RPG games of old!".

Also, hard-core gamers DO play WoW, as you've just met one. But if you don't like to play, then by all means don't play. I'm still looking forward to Vanguard and it will be interesting to see what Brad will do with it, if it ever comes out.

Take care.

Re:Goths? (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404352)

I wasn't really arguing against those like you, I know you exist and appreciate your point of view :)

I'm arguing against those that can't make the distinctions that you do. Those that condemn WoW while stating they are RPG purists, or those that worship WoW because of it's obvious RPG goodness. Thankfully, there are some people out there that realize that WoW is simply an online game, and that there are also some people that enjoy it for what it is, never mind the crap :)

We're on the same page, I just didn't frame it quite right.

Jocks? (0, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402817)

Enter the "IT IS GOOD BECAUSE IT'S POPULAR" crowd. Less than a dozen comments in this thread thus far and half of them are people who love WoW because it's "dumbed down."

Listen up, guys, WoW has 5.5 million+ subscribers because what it's doing is bad, not good. It's dumbed down, and if - like me - you spent hardcore-style hours raiding to get the best stuff, you'd know that.

But no, like the guys at Vanguard, you can get past appearance. If it's popular, it must be bad.

There, fixed it for you.

By your comments McD serves the finest food in town, Coca Cola is the best beverage ever, Reality TV is the best entertainment in history, Internet explorer is the best browser and CNN has the best news service in the world.

Yeah right.

Just because something is popular doesn't mean it is good and just because something is popular doesn't mean everyone should do the same thing. If we did that we would all be wearing the same clothes, eating the same food and enjoy the same entertainment.

Vanguard != WoW and WoW!= Vanguard. At least not right now. Not playing either I can't say I really care all that much.

But I do care about populist toadies like you wanting to turn everything into the same generic mush that appeals to the largest group. Yuck.

Then again, I am arguing with person who probably likes MTV. More fool me.

Re:Goths? (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402836)

WoW is dumbed down.

PVE: Death is basically Zero Risk.
PVP: Death is Zero Risk.
Skill tree: Almost zero risk change at any time for little cost.

Overall there is little advantage to intelligent game play. EX: 2-3x exp advancement or 2-3x PVP rank advancement.

Now let's look at EVE:

PVE: Death = loss of ship, 70% of gear, but no loss of implants.
PVP: Death = loss of ship, all gear, and probably all implants. Vs. Win = 30% of players gear.
So their is risk in death.

Overall intelligent game play makes a huge difference.
EX: Scamming is an accepted game practice. Steal more money than most players make in 6 months and gain fame and fortune.
EX: You have access to past market activity so learning which items have value in which areas becomes valuable. You can setup buy / sell orders for up to 3 months and change their value over time.
EX: The in game skill tree let's you learn any useful skill in game but picking the right path becomes vary important. You can never trade skills but you always keep learning so it's easy to change path's at your own risk.

PS: The whole idea of grinding is a dumbing down. PVP grinding is stupid (aka taking 10 deaths and 0 losses is worth less than 11 wins and 100 losses.) it levels the playing field by making the number of hours you pvp become far more important than how good you are at PVP. Thus a low level of rank has little to do with skill and high levels of rank require some skill AND insane play times.

Its not the best, it attracts the baseline gamer.. (2, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402885)

... it attracts your average housewife gamer (like my wife) your average high school gamer (like my brother) your average college gamer who doesn't have a lot of time(like my other brother) and people who just can't stand the thought of dying and losing XP. It is a softcore MMO. They are catering to the masses, not to the MMO purists (enter me).

Vanguard is going to be a hardcore MMO. This news article is music to my ears. The core dev team has its roots in EQ. This game will be challenging and give you a run for its money. Carrot on a stick? Hell yes.

But no, like the guys at Vanguard, you can't get past appearance. If it's popular, it must be bad.

My guess based on articles I've read is that Vanguard will be similar to EQ. Very open ended. WoW's problem is that the engame converges. Everyone, and I mean everyone is doing those stupid instances at level 60 or raiding a few dungeons. And once you are 60 all that is left to do is get gear. Whereas in Everquest the landmass is so huge and the design is so open-ended, you have a lot to do. (you can also keep grinding, dumping XP into abilities, but I don't know for sure Vanguard will have a system like that). Vanguard should be that open ended, and it is a roleplayer's wet dream.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402968)


Vanguard is going to be a hardcore MMO. This news article is music to my ears. The core dev team has its roots in EQ. This game will be challenging and give you a run for its money. Carrot on a stick? Hell yes.

The problem with this, is that it will be a commercial flop if it attempts to be that hardcore.

Back when it was (mostly) the only game in town, EQ could be whatever it wanted to be. And it was a vicious, all-consuming grind.

There's just no room to be that way in the current competitive environment.

Let's say, for example, that Valve got tired of working in the next half-life because it was too complex. So they wanted to go back to the "roots" of the FPS genre, like Doom, with tons of dumb-ass baddies.... and they release a game like Serious Sam.

Now, SS was an awesome game -- as a $20 one-off. As a primary franchise? It would flop.

Tastes in gaming change. I loved banging my head against the wall playing Gradius III on my SNES... but Gradius V on the PS2 was just boring. I loved playing Super Mario World to death, especially with those evil levels that you unlocked when you did everything... and spent four hours on the New SMB before finishing it and I haven't turned the DS on since.

Is there room for Vanguard as a niche title? Sure. But if it goes that route, expect second-rate production values and a small user base. The days of EQ Hardcore are gone, and they aren't coming back now that the industry knows how many people are out there willing to play MMORPGs.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403518)

It's nice to see someone else understand the whole "risk/reward" ratio, or "time/reward" ratio of current games.

As you rightly say, the old UO / EQ days of the early MMORPGS's had the whole risk/reward ratio heavily weighted towards time -- I'll say it was idiotic to camp a mob for 4 hours, just to have one item drop -- I got better things to waste my time on. WoW has changed this to be more rewarding with less risk/time required -- at least up to the mid-game. (Allthough travelling still sucks in WoW, due to the designers complete lack of understanding dead time, but I digress.) As MMORPGs continue to get more popular, this shift isn't going to slow down; more and more casual gamers will demand more reward per given time. Older gamers (30+), just don't have the same amount of time to spend, like they once did (20+), meaning I will vote with my dollar with the games that entertain me the most, given the few hours I play a week.

I'll say tastes in gaming have changed. These days, if I can't play a game co-op, I'm usually not interested in playing it. (There are exceptions.) I used to love FPS's: Quake, Team Fortress, BF1942, Call of Duty, Serious Sam. Having checked out Quake 4 and Doom 3, I feel like the whole soul of a fun game is completely lacking.

--
Game Design is about the unholy trinity of: Realism, Logicalness, and Convenience.
    Unfortunatly far too many people (especially player) are complaining about the wrong thing.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403667)

Your right, who would ever sit down and play a game of AD&D now that WoW has proven what everyone actually wants to play.

Why must there only be one of something? There is no one way to do things. These are games. Man, what stupid arguments.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404284)


But a game of AD&D isn't a risk.

Even from the perspective of the publishers, releasing another random supplement isn't a huge risk.

Creating an MMORPG of any signifigant scale is a massive risk of resources -- time, money, people, energy and reputation.

People only typically take risks when there's a chance of them paying off.

When the mass of MMORPG players have rejected the EQ stupid-evil timesink grind, it's not smart buisness to go make a new game that is the epitome of stupid-evil timesink grind.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404367)

Then lets be clear in our distinctions here. Are we discussing the viability of game mechanics? Or are we discussing a companies business model and it's ability to generate as much revenue as possible?

Let's not confuse the two.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (2, Interesting)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404314)

These are games.

Actually, MMORPGs are hobbies. Or part-time jobs. They have characteristics of both.

But they're not just "games" these days.

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403605)

'...who doesn't have a lot of time'...

OK, we know you're on crack so we can ignor everything else you have to say.

What's WoW's nick again? Yeah, you got it.

Not a time sucker, my GOD have you been had...how much have they sucked out of your wallet?

Re:Its not the best, it attracts the baseline game (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403925)

I started the day of (end of november?), I had a level 60 by the new year. I work full time and had a pregnant wife who I spent a healthy amount of time with, I was not racing to get level 60. Sold it and never looked back. However I resurrected my EQ account, I still play the same character I started 4 years ago. Well over 100 days played on him.

Fact of the matter is it doesn't take much time to get your levels in WoW, compared to a "hardcore" MMO like Everquest or even Everquest 2, and then you are stuck doing the same 3 (i think) crappy instances with the same people over and over and over, no experiance gain just a few lame purple items, and then what? Nothing left to do ... Quick leveling, quick convergence.

But to answer your question... $49.99 for the game, I paid for 1 month of access ($15.99?) ... and sold the account for somewhere between the 300-600 mark. I turned a profit :)

Re:Goths? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403351)

Listen up, guys, WoW has 5.5 million+ subscribers because what it's doing is good, not bad.

McDonalds sells millions of burgers because the food their making is good, not bad. Anyone who wants something that takes longer than 3 seconds to cook in a microwave is obviously some sad nerd...

McDonalds does it right (1)

advid (44409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403547)

McDonalds sells millions upon millions of burgers because they sell what people want: food which is cheap, hot, and tasty.

Yes, you can get better food. But not for the same amount of money, or in the same timeframe. I mean, sure, I can go to a gourmet restaurant, and have a fantastic meal which blows McFood away... but I'll spent more than 10 times what I would at McDonalds, and it'll take a lot longer to eat. Or I could spend about what I would at McDonalds and cook for myself... but that's slow, and there might be other things I want to get done.

maybe we want WoW2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402449)

WoW was an awesome game at first. The end-game was lacking, and there were several problems with it (Fedex quests and too much running back and forth with gnoll ears). I am sick of it now, and I dont think I care to play the expansion pack.

Bring on WoW2. Vangaurd would be wise to cater to the 6 million bored ex-WoWers

Re:maybe we want WoW2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15402714)

Bring on WoW2. Vangaurd would be wise to cater to the 6 million bored ex-WoWers


Totally agreed.

After playing WoW for 9 months (had a level 60 priest, ran MC/BWL/Ony/etc., etc. etc.), it became such a bore that I can't see myself returning for the expansion.

Vanguard's developers would be wise to develop a game that doesn't end up being a repetitive grind for more purple loot, or where the only game styles available to entertain end-game players are tedious 40-man raid instances and repetitive (instanced) PvP.

Please raise your hand if this surprises you (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402521)

Let me see if I read this right. The forums for an online game have been overrun with loud-mouthed, small-eNis self-proclaimed board warriors who enjoy nothing quite so much as proclaiming their own superiority based on which game they play?

And the same "I am Jack's Ass" crowd is full of people with an over inflated sense of self importantce who believe that being invited to join a beta test and asked for some constructive feedback makes their voices more important than those of people who have been developing the game for years, and they regularly hold public roasts of any member of the development team who still cares enough to attempt to communicate with them?

I would be shocked and appalled if it weren't for the fact that this is exactly what has happened with every single game relased this century. The same arrogant twits infest every forum, loudly proclaiming that they now own the game and that those pinhead developers had better start doing things their way or else they're going to leave and take all six billion of their friends with them to whatever the next unreleased game is. The only thing that's surprising about this is that the writer says that Brad McQuaid is still trying to give them what they claim they want.

People often wonder just why it is that game developers often don't participate in their fora or talk directly to the players, and why they are often secretive about what they are working on. This kind of thing is exactly why they do that. Having to deal with this kind of abuse on a daily basis will turn anybody into a recluse.

Re:Please raise your hand if this surprises you (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402727)

Very true. Developers have their own vision of what the game will be and until the game is produced, I for one don't think they should compromise that, no matter what a beta tester might say. Beta testers are to find bugs and usability problems. They are not to dictate story line or game mechanics. Obviously they can comment all they want, but in the end it's up to the designers to listen. Sometimes these comments make sense, other times it's just crazy. I think a wiser thing would be to have some kind of peer review. If you can have other developers try out a game they'll probably give you more constructive feedback because they speak your language and understand what you're doing (hopefully). However, due to the nature of the business it's obvious that this can't happen for every game. It barely happens for some games.

In the end, I say stay true to the story, release the game, and fix the interface and mechanics for the paying customers, not the idiot beta testers.

Re:Please raise your hand if this surprises you (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403425)

That's the problem here though, with the huge surge in popularity of MMOGs, it is simply impossible to test these games on the scale they were designed to operate without opening up testing to the very people that will, hopefully, buy your game in the end.

There would simply be no way to get enough developers testing your game for enough time to be of any relative use at all, let alone get any real testing done...never mind that these developers are working too many hours on their own games at the same time. (Don't get me started on the state of the working environment in the game industry!)

This is not a good thing. In fact, it is a very bad thing, but no other solution has been found at this point unfortunately. There are things that can help though, a lot.

The beta testers of any big game need to be moderated. Money needs to be put into moderating your testers, plain and simple. Are you really getting any testing done if you have no control over the process or the data? The biggest mistake game developers make is to 'release' a game to open beta testing. That's usually the extent of it: Come sign up, help us test it...end of story. Gee, I wonder why that attracts every useless twit fanboy out there.

What SHOULD be done is full control should be taken over the process. People need to be paid to manage and moderate the process. Tester status should NOT be open to just anyone, and should be EXPECTED to be revokeable at any second, for ANY REASON. Further, this should only be attempted anyways when it is truly a MMO that is so complex, paying for standard testing would just not be feasible.

Take control of the process, or deal with the consequences. Please for the love of god though, quit whining about this being the result, YOU created the mess, deal with the consequences.

Lastly, and this is more of a question, but does open testing like this tend to help future sales in any way? I'd be shocked if it does. Hard thing to evaluate, but I'd be VERY surprised if this kind of practice didn't actually result in LESS sales once shipped as everyone that was curious has already had a taste without having to pay, and might have even been scared away permanently simply because the beta experience was so horrible.

(Now, that is assuming that we're discussing an MMO environ where people behave any better after the game is actually released...my biggest reason for avoiding most like the plague)

Re:Please raise your hand if this surprises you (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403455)

Ideally, you'd have some kind of barrier between the programmers and those who wish to influence the design process. Maybe a person. Let's call that barrier person a "manager" for the sake of convenience. Let's formalize his responsibility to include filtering outside requests into a managable format for the developers, and maintaining a vision for the project. That'd be a pretty slick way to run things.

Inmates running the asylum. (2, Interesting)

Visceral Monkey (583103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402582)

The articles author is dead on. Take your average rabid Apply fanboy x10 and you've got the nut balls who make up the Vanguard community. These players have been pushed from mmorpg to mmorpg as developers quickly realize the kind of game play they worship is not what 95% of players out there want. If you even attempt to suggest changes to the way the envision the game you're in for all sorts of abuse and scorn. They see this as their "last hope" and will do anything to make sure stays that way. Alas, the result is the game supposedly sucks, badly, from what i've heard from beta testers. MS dumping it back to SOE is a sure sign they are struggling. My prediction is the game will not make it to market in it's current form.

Not exactly getting both sides of the story are we (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402683)

My only experience is with other beta's and with other MMORPG's and while I do regonize what is being claimed here I also notice that this post is totally one sided.

There seems to be some hatred against WoW players. I can only imagine that this is the same hatred that Counterstrike players get. I was in a beta for a couple of more realistic shooters and we had good reasons to loathe CS players. They would get their beta key and instantly demand the game be turned into a CS clone.

If you get a post like "they should do X like they it in CS" or "this game sucks because I am good at X in CS and I suck at it in this game" then there really isn't much you can do.

So the players who like the game as it is fight the players who want to change the game. This nothing new. Just try following a debate on language reform.

The example of a corpse run is mentioned. Corpse run is a penalty for dying. Everquest 2 for instance punishes you with an experience debt unless you go back to where you died and reassorb your ghost. Other games leave your equipment lying out in the wild forcing you to go back to get your loot.

It makes the game more of a challenge forcing you to think about a battle. Not just wether you can handle that boss you need for a quest but wether you will make it back out again.

Without a corspe run you run the risk of players just using dying to get back to the city to sell their loot. Ask Star Wars Galaxies with the Trials of Obi-wan expansion. For that matter it existed before where people would kill themselves to get rid of a doctor buff that was about to run out so they could get a new one.

Kinda ruins the atmo when you got people begging to be wiped out. "Hey you want to go hunt rancors tonight" "Sure, let me just kill myself before we head out okay?" "Eh, right".

WoW for all its success is not everyones cup of tea and it can be disappointing to see every game try to emulate it. Again, look at SWG. It tried to WoW people and is near dead because of it.

So yes forum discusssions can become very heated BUT there is always two sides to a story. The person comments we read in the main article claim that the hardcore resisted attempts to add WoW elements to the game. Eheh, meaning he wanted to make the game into WoW. Is he basically upset because he didn't get to mold the game into his vision?

MMORPG's are very hard games to produce and if the designer doesn't 100% believe in what he wants to do there is the risk that he could start to believe that the tiny vocal minority on the forums somehow represents the majority. On the other hand if he ignores them he risks that they are infact the majority.

You can't please everyone but you sure as hell can upset everyone.

Re:Not exactly getting both sides of the story are (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402883)

If you get a post like "they should do X like they it in CS" (...) then there really isn't much you can do.

But what if they should do X like they do it in CS/WoW/whatever other game you hate? What if it is a really valid suggestion, even for this different game? You should judge an idea based on its merits, not on it's origin.

Beta testing != design (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403327)

Beta testers are there to test the game, not design it ... the designers and architects had a vision, and implemented it. They employed beta testers to stress it out and make sure it worked.

Usually not a choice like that (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403475)

For instance the CS design that you have to buy your weapons vs other games where you just get your equipment handed to you.

Wich is better? Neither. It is a design choice and will determine the kind of game it is. Yes there are some things wich should be done the same in most games. The move to TCP/IP for multiplayer games was for instance a good move and every game was right for copying it.

Introducing a system to stop cheating would also be smart to follow.

But not every FPS needs to include a warthog just because Halo has one. Not every shooter needs to be set in modern or near future times just because the most popular ones are.

The example of the corpse run is a clear design choice that determines the game you have.

With the corpse run death has a real risk and requires players to be carefull where they risk their live less they will not be able to get back again to reclaim their body.

Without it death becomes meaningless and people will top themselves to save walking back to their town.

Neither is invalid, it is just that they make for very different games.

In away, corpse run is like Counter Strikes money system. Die in that game and you loose that expensive weapon forcing you to work for it again. Other games just give you the same equipment over and over meaning that there is no penalty for dying.

Would it be a good thing if every game used the CS system? No, so why should it be a good thing in a MMORPG?

Oh and another thing. WoW is already WoW, if you make another game that is WoW why should people play yours?

Nintendo's Plan of Attack (1)

yeoua (86835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402730)

Maybe they should take the strategy of not listening to what the customer says, just like Nintendo (which was also suggested in the linked article). All of this "my way or the highway" from the user base is ridiculous considering it isn't their game and it isn't their work.

The games should be made to be fun, and when it is, people will come. It seems that games nowadays are made to be a bragging grounds, fun or not. It has to be an overly difficult game that rewards time (and lots of it) to pander to the "still in school" crowd who have that much time to burn.

I'm not sure that making a game specifically for these people ... the uh, fanbois, if you will, is that ideal anyway. The turn coat pretty quick, and hop onto the next free thing.

Solve the real problem (0)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402813)

Make it so that gamers are randomly inserted into "guilds/clans/groups" instantly upon logging in the game and from there make it possible to move about or join other groups. That way all new players start off with some sense of the first two letters of MMO.

There is nothing worse than starting a new game and having to go around trying to make virtual friends to let you in their clique. When I pick up a fun looking game that none of my friends play, I just want to be able to jump in and play.

It is the clique-y-ness of MMO's that put a lot of people off. Either make the group huge and assign new players to it automatically based on their character choice, or at least have some sort of initial grouping system to quickly play and build friends.

Keep 'em out (2, Informative)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402899)

Vanguard has been advertised as a hardcore-only game since it's inception. I actually like hell levels, grinding and slow travel. It gives me the feel that I'm actually in the world and not just playing a game. I want immersion in an MMORPG, not another game.

There is something to be said for having to wait for 30 minutes for a boat ride from Freeport to Butcherblock with islands to visit on the way. It keeps people more inclined to explore their current environment instead of looking for the fastest way to level up and going to the appropriate zone to do that.

I do hope the game lives up to what it is being advertised to be.

And I'll say it one more time: THEY HAVE BEEN ADVERTISING THAT THEY DON'T WANT THE "WOW" CROWD FOR YEARS. That alone has driven up their popularity with the hardcore MMORPG gamers because honestly, very few hardcore people even PLAY WoW to begin with.

Hell, yes (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402970)

Revived my EQ acct to get back in the spirit before Vanguard hits. I have high hopes and I pray I am not disappointed. I agree very strongly with you. Vanguard is catering to the hardcore gamer. That's a point everyone is missing, too many people feel "success" is dictated by having the most players. "Success" is turning a profit and having happy customers that stick around to play :)

Re:Keep 'em out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15403096)

uh oh one of the inmates escaped!

haha, i kid i kid.

i see your point, but millions of ex-WoWers need a home too.

Re:Keep 'em out (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403249)

"That alone has driven up their popularity with the hardcore MMORPG gamers because honestly, very few hardcore people even PLAY WoW to begin with."

That's because there are very few (but mouthy) "hardcore" players to begin with, which is why this will fail.

Re:Keep 'em out (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403512)

There is something to be said for having to wait for 30 minutes for a boat ride from Freeport to Butcherblock with islands to visit on the way. It keeps people more inclined to explore their current environment instead of looking for the fastest way to level up and going to the appropriate zone to do that.

Yeah, it made me say "Gee, I'm glad my wife plays a wizard and will get ports in a few levels."

I, too, want the game world to feel big. The later editions to EQ, especially the Plane of Knowledge ports, really shrunk the world, leaving large areas unserved by ports completely decimated. That's a really bad thing. Instantaneous portals just make the work too small.

But at the same time, sitting in one place for a long time isn't fun, either. There's a reason I bought a second computer while playing EQ, and it wasn't to run my second account most of the time. It's because I could get in a few good hours of 'net reading each night while played. And I also despised how helpless I felt as a paladin when traveling in some places. I had to be escorted like a kid, because I could not survive any other way due to my lack of self-invis or aggro-dropping abilities. (In the post-Brad era my AA horse solved a lot of that, and I also took to playing a monk alt.)

Instead, what I'd like is travel that takes time, shows how big the world really is, but doesn't involve tedious repetitive interactive travel, or sitting around in one place for too long then "missing the boat," so to speak. Guess what? WoW had this spot on with gryphons. I thought they implemented that very well. If WoW hadn't fraked up the paladin class so badly (replacing it with pseudo cleric crap), I'd still be playing it.

Vanguard sounds like they are designing the paladin class exactly as I want to play it. But most everything else I hear from the game is disappointing.

Re:Keep 'em out (1)

non0score (890022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403654)

I think what you're referring to is the hardcore role-players. Sure, you may claim that MMORPGs indicate role-playing, but in reality, that is just a moniker used by the marketing department or for any games that have the "level up" system. "Role-playing" and "role-playing games" aren't really synonymous anymore (although they do oftentimes overlap).

With that, then you realize using the words "hardcore-only game" to represent "hardcore role-playing" is a little misleading. There are various types of hardcore players that aren't quite into role-playing itself. I personally know a lot of min-maxers who aren't into role-playing, but are still considered hardcore players. I also know a lot of "hardcore fun gamers" who're really into playing games that're fun to them (IIRC, we never did sit around for 30 minutes making hoof noises while traveling from one city to another in Pen and Paper D&D). At the end of the day, it all boils down to doing what you like. And the name "hardcore gamer" really just means "knowing a lot about and spending a lot of time on your game." Therefore, I'm sorry for bursting your bubble about how you feel that you're some sort of representative of hardcore gamers. You may be representative of hardcore role-players, but not hardcore players. And even then, it's just hardcore role-playing, not hardcore (MMO)RPG gamers.

Re:Keep 'em out (1)

startled (144833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403697)

Vanguard has been advertised as a hardcore-only game since it's inception. I actually like hell levels, grinding and slow travel. It gives me the feel that I'm actually in the world and not just playing a game. I want immersion in an MMORPG, not another game.

I totally agree with the first sentence, and disagree with the rest. Which is the whole point-- different games for different niches. It's not too surprising that the Vanguard testers are WoW-phobic, since making it WoWish kills off its unique selling points. Vanguard is aiming for a hardcore, somewhat smaller market (you don't get 5 million subs on this game), and assuming they can peel them away from EQ-- and I think they can-- they should attract a pretty die-hard following.

I've known this, you've known this, Sigil's known this. The question is, why didn't Microsoft know this? They acquire Sigil and scrap Mythica, which makes sense if you think you're competing with yourself. Of course, eventually MS realized that Vanguard was a niche game, Mythica was their casual one, and now they're left with nothing where previously they had an embarassment of coverage in the genre.

I have to think Microsoft is developing an unannounced large market MMO or two, perhaps targeted at "Live Anywhere".

Re:Keep 'em out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15404323)

They've also stated that they don't want the 'hardcorps' either.

or did you miss the other half of brad's statments?

SOE is their biggest problem (2, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403187)

SOE is the 10,000 ton boat anchor around their necks. I have two reasons to never trust a MMO that is associated with SOE in any way:

Star Wars Galaxies Combat Upgrade
Star Wars Galaxies New Game Experience

It's so bad that mmorpg.com has posted a stickied "Official SOE hate thread" in the forum of every SOE game.

Naaaah (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403359)

SOE is just doing the backend/billing/etc. They aren't doing the design work. That's Sigil. It is actually going to be a very good relationship, not only because the people know each other well but because Sony is pretty good at keeping servers up and online billing / game cards / etc (unlike that **other** mmo).

(you have to remember there is a distinction between the design/engineering team and the people that do the hosting/admin stuff. Sigil is the former, SOE is the latter)

Re:SOE is their biggest problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15403403)

Everquest: Shadows of Luclin

Drama queens ? (1)

Doodlepants (646546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403209)

Move along... Its only the usual day to day drama in the community.

I think Iwata said it best "Don't listen..." (1)

Vesuvias (584893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403355)

The hard-core gaming community is extremely vocal--they blog a lot--but if Nintendo kept listening to them, hard-core gamers would be the only audience it ever had. "[Wii] was unimaginable for them," Iwata says. "And because it was unimaginable, they could not say that they wanted it. If you are simply listening to requests from the customer, you can satisfy their needs, but you can never surprise them.


This wisdom applies doubley so for MMOs as those hardcore players "play" (I use that term loosely) the game so much different from the average player. Vangaurd was doomed from the very begining, corpse runs and experience penalties were tolerated because there was not another game like EQ at the time. The landscape is different for MMOs now, if your game even gives a hint of some boring, grindlike mechanic gamers have way to many other options that are actually fun. Making a game challenging does create a fun experience for most people however if that challenge is simply enduring hour upon hour of repeated monotony then you missed the point. Anyone can make an undeafeatable challenge (he mister raid encouter have a billion health points) and it is easy enough to flip some numbers in a database to make leveling up take 50 hours as opposed to 5. Making 50 hours of rock solid challenging yet not frustrating fun however is difficult. I would be all to happy to pay you 20$ a month if you can entertain me that much.

Ves

Well written article (1)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403479)

I liked that article, it's too bad they won't mix WoW and EQ...as many mistakes as WoW made they did make some sizeable improvements over EQ as well.

Corpse runs are definately something that should be left in the past.

Vanguard is an attempt at Everquest III (1)

rwts101 (977106) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403607)

Its amazing this game even got into beta in the first place. For a long time, its been surmised that there was nothing to this game other than tantalizing tidbits on Sigil's website, where the marketing release page text far outweighed the source code of the game in length. The whole game was shrouded in "secrecy" which people assumed that because nothing was coded or built, nothing was discussed about it.

Vanguard apparently wants to bring back what even EQ had to do major gymnastics to code around. Guilds spending more time finding third party programs and strategies to ensure other guilds won't progress rather than working on progression. (If you played EQ during the PoP era and were in a high end guild, it was common to make sure one or both Decorins were moved under the world to make sure nobody got flagged for Rallos Zek until the servers got rebooted.) Some people love the PvE racing, but eventually it will become an arms race of who can make the better ShowEQ, MQ2, or other third party utility. If Sigil doesn't police the game well, it may end up an item duper's paradise as well.

Instead of Sigil actually making content, they seem to want to have players fight amongst themselves to try to get through artifically created bottlenecks, as a way to not have to create new content as fast. For example, having a locked high-end raid zone, where the key only is available by killing the Grand Poobah. Of course the Grand Poobah only spawns every xxx amount of days, and this allows the zone to be itemized and built on the fly, even after release, because players are effectively locked out.

WoW is a casual game, so casual I quit playing it after getting a couple characters to 60, and finding that one Uqua plow is harder than all the WoW raiding put together. However, Blizzard engineered the game right, where player griefing is fairly difficult. WoW is a fun game. You can solo, group, raid, and pvp, and have some means of progression, even if its a faction treadmill. Blizzard also does attempt to address issues with the game. Next patch, they are adding a decent raid area.

If Sigil gives WoW fans the middle finger, who are they going to sell to? The dedicated raiders don't make up that much of the gaming population, and unless Sigil charges $200 a month, they won't be making much money from this game. This only hurts Sigil, as if there isn't a good playerbase, guilds and groups can't get a critical mass to keep raids going, and the game gets abandoned.

Of course, Sigil may be intending to sell this game to people in the East who play Lineage 2 and are used to long grinds and very stiff death penalties (In L2 death had a chance of you losing your weapon, and in that game, weapon loss basically means buying another from ebay or rerolling a new charcter.) I'm not disparaging them, they are an insanely lucrative game market, but If Sigil is intending to pitch to that crowd, they shouldn't have been touting they are "Everquest done right." Instead, maybe tout how they are better than L2.

All and all, I do have a suspicion that this MMO from Sigil was intended to be Everquest 3.

Off Topic, but... (1)

MotherInferior (698543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403938)

Heartless Gamer needs to get rid of the stupid frozen graphic on the left. It turns scrolling on Firefox into a slide show and induces nausia on my 64-bit Fedora machine. Blech...

Hum.... (1)

NBarnes (586109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15403961)

There's really two issues here.

The first is that Vanguard is not aimed at the same user base as WoW. WoW is clearly a more 'casual' game than EverQuest before it, and Vanguard looks to be designed to be a more sophisticated version of EverQuest's original vision for reward-and-punishment systems, perhaps even harsher. Is the potential playerbase for a game of Vanguard's sort as large as WoW's has proven to be? I've always thought that it wasn't by at least one order of magnitude, perhaps more, and thought that assertions that there was some large community of people that enjoy XP loss and racing to non-instanced raid bosses were flying in the face of all our experiences, player and dev alike, of EQ1. However, if your expectations for population are appropriately calibrated, there's nothing wrong with not having a huge playerbase. If you, as the dev, are satisfied with the artistry and craftsmanship of your game and your game experience, and your players are playing the game they want to be playing (as opposed to killing time waiting for The Next Big Thing), then more power to you. Much as I bash EVE sometimes, there's nothing wrong with it other than offending my (highly personal and idiosyncratic) sense of gaming aesthetics.

The second issue here is the to-me inexplicable assertion, loudly and often repeated, by so many of Vanguard's partisans that their sort of preferred game experience is 'better'. It's true that this sort of 'what I like is better than what you like' is common enough to be banal amongst gamers (even now, wargaming grognards are sneering at us Johnny-come-latelys; nothing we do will ever equal the hate of table-top wargamers for one another). I'm hardly immune myself (see above for my admission of EVE bashing). But certain classes of gamer, and those attracted to the 'difficult' and 'hardcore' aspirations of Vanguard seem very much one of those classes, seem to me to be much worse about it than most. More dogmatic, more aggressive, less tolerant of other perspectives and far, far more strident.

A Response (3, Insightful)

ozuri (977127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15404201)

We have a tremendous amount of respect for World of Warcraft, its success, the expansion of the gaming audience for MMOGs, and many of the elements that they incorporated or improved upon from those games that came before them. They've done this industry a great service by increasing awareness and setting a new bar for quality. As EverQuest did, as World of Warcraft did, as every game that has come out in this genre has done, we will iterate on the things that we feel were done correctly, fix the things we think were done incorrectly, and then innovate where we feel necessary -- this is a largely intuitive process, but one where our experience continues to lead us appropriately. Beta Testers are an extremely valuable resource for feedback, but they do not dictate the design of the game that we are building. That design came from Brad & Jeff and the team long ago (the much and oft touted Vision) and will be tuned and reevaluated by the team as feedback comes in -- but the game design is not, has never been, and will not be dictated by anyone other than the developer. Our Beta testers can be passionate about their opinions and they air them when appropriate, as has been requested of them. However, much like here, you take everything with a grain of salt, carefully evaluate, discard the opinions that are inflammatory or without merit, and then weigh the remainder carefully against your own understanding. The Beta is not in trouble, and the community is not the source of all negativity -- rather, they provide us a resource that is absolutely fundamental to ongoing evaluation of the content and systems we are implementing. And frankly, our daily interaction with the game provides us the most accurate perspective in evaluating the status of the game, its trajectory for launch, and its eventual likelihood of success. We're going to be fine. :) We welcome the conversation. Zack K. Director, Business Development Sigil Games Online
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