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The Quest To Build a Better Warcraft

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the better-than-a-mousetrap dept.

Role Playing (Games) 196

Red Herring tackles the rush into virtual space, talking about the MMOG goldrush and the business consequences World of Warcraft has had on the games industry as a whole. Though sometimes it doesn't seem to fully understand the difference between a single player game and a Massive one, the article still touches on a number of important points. Lots of folks are looking to cash in on WoW's success, and they're importing or licensing every Massive game they can find to get on the bandwagon. "The problem is that no one knows what the next WoW killer will look like. Creating a hit video game, which combines strong characters, a compelling story, and top-notch production values, is part art and part inexact science. Making a hit game can be much more difficult than producing an Oscar-winning movie. After all, the hit video game must be compelling enough to keep players coming back for more." Even if a lot of their conclusions are odd, and they call Puzzle Pirates silly, it's worth a look. What do you think it's going to take to crack Blizzard's deathlock on the Massive genre?

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Game engine (4, Interesting)

wilsonthecat (1043880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021120)

The content is all that amazing in World of Warcraft, but the game engine is second to none. Make a game engine as good as WoW's, with the character animation, UI and scripting support and you've got a WoW-killer. Until then they are just bad immitations.

Re:Game engine (1, Troll)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021368)

I'm not sure I'd call WoW's game engine 'second to none'. It has numerous technical issues that continue to haunt it even today, and judging from the very odd occurances of things that were working fine suddenly going buggy on an update that didn't touch anything that should have been related I wouldn't put much stock on it's code being very clean either. Basically, it's power has come at costs in other areas.

Re:Game engine (2, Insightful)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021410)

That's an easy comment. Name some of these technical issues that you mention. It's not perfect, but I can't for the life of me think of any severe problems.

Re:Game engine (2, Insightful)

edremy (36408) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023074)

I'll mention one that has been driving me nuts lately- "stuck" monsters. It's not at all uncommon to get a mob stuck into the terrain such that it is completely immune to all attacks but can hit you from almost any distance. You'll see it 30 yards away swinging a sword and a big "-500" and "DAZED" appears over your head. The only thing you can do is run away and hope that it can't kill you in time. Sometimes these guys are stuck below the terrain so that you can't even see where they are- you just aggro them by accident and suddenly your health is falling.

Then there are the "You don't have permission to loot that corpse" bug, the numerous quests that are so buggy that nobody can complete them (Like the one in the dungeon in Terrokkar that if someone fails on the attempt it requires a server reset before it will ever work again) and so forth. These are probably scripting rather than engine bugs, but still.

WoW is remarkably polished for a game its size, but it's by no means bug free.

Re:Game engine (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023188)

Well, no. I'd never claim it's bug-free, but it's still Blizzard-class quality. I've never had that stuck mob problem, though. That must be new since the expansion, because I've never noticed before, when I was playing a lot more. You're right that a lot of problems are content-based and not necessarily engine. As far as design and implementation goes, I think the entire engine (graphics and gameplay) is one of the best ever made for an MMORPG. It's just well put-together and relatively trouble-free these days.

Re:Game engine (2, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021954)

> but the game engine is second to none.

Oh please. Maybe on stability, but not on features.
The game only supports blob shadows.

Re:Game engine (4, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022108)

Who cares?

Seriously, it's a total non-issue to me, and I think that's why they're succeeding. What sold WoW three accounts in my household was that their client was playable on an old G4 iBook.

Re:Game engine (2, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023398)

I don't think he was talking about bleeding edge graphics, but rather about the GAME engine. Quest system, stats system, combat mechanics, spell/resist mechanics, talent specializations, interface customization system, etc. The flexibility of their GAME engine means they can easily create compelling content.

Visually what has been compelling to me about WoW was not the special effects, but rather the artistry. They have beautiful, vibrant, imaginative, and colorful landscapes, buildings, characters, monsters, and spells. These things are not very well aided by the graphic engine (which generally keeps it to the basics), but are amazing nonetheless. As a result, the hardware needed to play it is less than other games which are less visually interesting, where they get hung up on bump maps and dynamic shadows, and other things which are nice only in a peripheral way, and don't really contribute that much to the enjoyability of the game itself. Kinda like a typical focused-primarily-on-cgi movie, which is beautiful but boring.

Make Smarter People Sign Up (4, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021124)

Give me an MMO with the quality of WoW and a higher caliber of people to play with, and I'm there.

Vanguard? (1)

soccerace09 (908351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022406)

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes seems to have an older crowd. It might be because it is a lot more difficult to grasp the concepts of crafting and the like. You might give it a shot.

Re:Vanguard? (2, Informative)

aicrules (819392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022588)

Unfortunately, Vanguard doesn't meet his first criteria of having the "quality of WoW" at this point. The animations in Vanguard are less than pretty, even if the environmental graphics are nice. You have to have a computer four times as powerful as you need for WoW with a specific type of video card to support those graphics...otherwise you're left with mediocre graphics with mediocre animation. Also, while it does cater to a smaller audience that would presumedly be more mature and interested in a more involved world, there were a wealth of noobs to be found during open beta. I will say that I absolutely loved the free-for-all PVP server in open beta while it was open...

Re:Vanguard? (2, Interesting)

garylian (870843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023144)

V:SoH is still in beta. It's a paid beta, since you have to pay to play a game that isn't that close to finished, but it's not done.

And I'm not sold on the older crowd thing. The game is more designed for the more hardcore "I want things to be difficult, with a lot of raid content and lots of more difficult tradeskills" crowd.

Blizzard did a brilliant job of making WoW very casual gamer friendly, while still being able to keep a lot of those that desire a faster gameplay style happy. That's why so many people play it. V:SoH is not very casual gamer friendly, imo.

The lack of instanced dungeons is eventually going to catch up to them, I think. Instanced content means that casual gamers can pick a date with other casual playing friends, and group/raid a target without worrying if it's "up". The total lack of instances means that the big guilds will start to lock down the better targets.

That was one of EQ1's biggest drawbacks, imo. So many times on our server (Xegony), the big raid guilds would take down the mobs necessary to gain higher planer access. Sure, it had pretty nice loot on it, but they also knew that if they kept other guilds away from Time, they had less competition for it.

The whole "We've got to kill X mob to gain access to Y zone" thing bites when that X mob will only once a week for EVERYONE on that server. That roadblock became a tool for those uber raiding guilds to hold others back.

Re:Make Smarter People Sign Up (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022640)

Guild Wars. Very nice engine, excellent graphics (STOMPS WoW) and an excellent community with more adults, not a bunch of 12-14 year olds.

Re:Make Smarter People Sign Up (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022948)

When is a Guild Wars scandal going to shut you guys up? It's so nice not to see people hawking EVE anymore.

Comparing GW graphics to WoW is like saying The Polar Express looked better than The Incredibles.

Second Life (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021144)

I don't play games at all, but I had a look at Second Life recently and I think that it (and the systems which will come after it) will appeal to a much broader market than games like Warcraft.

Re:Second Life (5, Funny)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021404)

Sure, except there's no fucking gameplay in Second Life. I play WoW because I want to kill dragons with morons, if I wanted to stand around with morons I'd go outside.

Re:Second Life (1)

operato (782224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022186)

and i thought i was the only one living on moron mountain!

Re:Second Life (1)

hellasaltine (822805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021446)

Second Life is virtual mile after virtual mile of strip clubs and clothing stores.

Not to mention it isn't even a game.

Re:Second Life (4, Insightful)

discord5 (798235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021660)

I had a look at Second Life recently and I think that it (and the systems which will come after it) will appeal to a much broader market than games like Warcraft.

Second life is essentially a chatclient to spend real money on virtual goods (or for the few who actually build stuff make real money on virtual goods).

The problem with second life is that for many people there is no reason to "play" it. There is no real objective to the game, eg. you don't get to slay dragons and rescue the princess, you don't get the rarest of rarest of items that increases your stats so you can brag in your guild about your latest armor or sword, you don't have that rare drop to fit on your brand new spaceship you use to pirate.

Many people play MMOs in a really competetive fashion, or for the challenge, or because they're addictive. I don't really see any of these qualities in second life. It's basicly a market of virtual goods, and they're making a lot of noise because they're selling baked air, everyone knows it, and appareantly everyone

The broader market? I dunno, I've met a lot of different people in WoW. Ranging from the immature adolescent ("lolol i'm so l33t") to the student with time to waste ("I raid every evening, have calculated the best uber stats for my character, troll forums, and somehow have to get a passing grade this year") to the adult with spare time ("My kids play this game, and this is a great way of keeping an eye on their online activities, and it's fun too" "I'm single and bored on weekday evenings" "My wife has another headache"). I think that WoW and Second Life have all of these groups as well, but that the WoW player is in it for the gameplay and the Second Life player is in it for the chat.

Re:Second Life (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023436)

The problem with second life is that for many people there is no reason to "play" it. There is no real objective to the game, eg. you don't get to slay dragons and rescue the princess, you don't get the rarest of rarest of items that increases your stats so you can brag in your guild about your latest armor or sword, you don't have that rare drop to fit on your brand new spaceship you use to pirate.

I think that's one of the real problems with Second Life. Overall it's basically just a large, detailed chat room. This attracts other people that chat rooms attract, largely alternative-lifestyle folks that have a hard time finding like-minded social groups in real life. That community is the only thing that holds people together, and for most people there isn't enough of a reason to hang out in Second Life making friends as opposed to hanging out in real life and making friends.

Re:Second Life (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023654)

The problem with second life is that for many people there is no reason to "play" it.

Was there a point to Animal Crossing?

Re:Second Life (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023776)

Second Life is just a huge pile of unrealized potential. What it sort of claims to be is an online 3d framework in which enterprising people could ideally create something analogous to WoW, but having a lot of the common stuff (graphics engine, network code, physics, etc.)already taken care of by Linden Labs. The problem is that a lot of that underlying framework is just really really sucky. There are tons of people who tried to create FPS type games within SL, some very smart and inventive people. But things like the lag inherent in SL just make it unworkable in any practical sense. I don't know much specific about how Linden Labs has structured SL, but I know that the creative players in the game have been pushing the limits of what SL can do, and the devs have not kept up at all in terms of increasing performance or increasing what's available to players.

I'm not saying that fulfilling the potential that many players see in SL is an easy task, I have no doubt it's quite difficult, or else it'd have been done already. But the only way that it's going to happen is through a lot of constant and iterative development. SL was a great first step, but it's made very little technical progress in the past few years. Instead Linden Labs has decided to focus their energies more on the social aspects, which is no doubt easier for them, but really is a waste of time. The social aspects will be self creating, since the game is played by people. I'd rather see LL put my subscription money towards some technical progress, rather than another press release about their progressive views on intellectual property rights. I'm not that concerned about whether or not I own my SL creations, because in SL it's so hard to make anything that's actually worth a damn.

Re:Second Life (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022344)

Or you could do like me and play WoW inside Second Life. Yeah, I found a little house in the middle of nowhere. It's kind of low key at this point, but I expect that it'll really take off soon. They have WoW emulator clients on one side of the room and live german scheizer sex shows on the other.

Easy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18021160)

More boobies.


(You looked, right?)

Are we really talking about MMO ? (2, Insightful)

Ksempac (934247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021202)

Creating a hit video game, which combines strong characters, a compelling story, and top-notch production values

Compelling story ? Strong characters ? We re not talking about MMO games here...MMO aims to the "lowest common denominator" between players to attract as much people as they can. WOW did it so well that they managed to attract people who hardly ever played video games before...and that's also why hardcore gamers tend not to play WOW.

Re:Are we really talking about MMO ? (2, Insightful)

Ryunosuke (576755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021738)

you've hit the nail on the head. WOW is basicly the poor man's mmorpg. It's dumbed down enough that casual players can play, pretty enough to capture said casual players, and occasionally has some end game stuff for the "raiders". one of the reasons why Eq2 (my personal favorite) will never ever be #1 is that they never dumbed down anything in (besides removing the shards early in the second year). Eq2's leveling and tradeskilling is a bitch. Wow's isn't. I played wow for 3 months, and I felt as if I was accidently leveling at times. WOW is the lowest common denominator of mmorpgs. It attracts and keeps more people than a lot of the "harder" ones. I know more people playing WOW than Guild Wars, City of Heroes, and Eq2 combined. A shame Vanguard is a pay to play beta, or it could have given wow a run for its money. no big deal, though. An eq3/Wow2 will eventually take over and we'll have these threads all over again ;)

Re:Are we really talking about MMO ? (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021858)

I felt as if I was accidently leveling at times.

Darn, were you being distracted by all that fun you were having? The reason many MMOs struggle is because of the idea, echoed in your post, that it is a good thing for levelling to be "a bitch". It is not. A game should fun to play, not something which you can work at for hours and end up no closer to any sense of accomplishment (or even further from one, in the case of harsh death penalties and the like). Building a game which is accessible and fun is not aiming the lowest common denominator, it's simply understanding why exactly people want to play games. I'm sure there'll still be a market of some sort for the hardcore gamers and their somewhat masochistic tendencies, but I suspect it'll rapidly fall even further into niche territory as WoW and it's successors continue to tailor towards the type of games the majority of people enjoy.

Re:Are we really talking about MMO ? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023248)

I truth, I played and quite EQ, because it was SSDD. Just because you put different bit maps on the screen didn't really change your strategy all that much. You had blunt/blade/magic targets in every level category, and the technique for most efficiently destroying them never changed across the levels.

And that brings me to another thing - levels. Levels in EQ(2), WoW, etc, have completely perverted what should be fun. Leveling is about the only important thing. A level 20 char will neer be killed by a level 5 mob unless they're attempting to commit suicide. Heck, not even by 4 level 5 mobs.

Since all these games are based off D&D, perhaps looking at that system might show that play rather than leveling was what made it fun. Levels did not have the dramatic effect they do in MMOs. A thief of moderate ability could kill a high level mage with luck, for example. A high level mage could, with an obscene amount of luck, kill a dragon single-handedly. (basically, mages and necromancers were the pinnacle of power but were very destructable)

These scenarios are impossible to even strive for in MMOs as they are today. 2-3 level differences are death sentences to the lower level individual.

Re:Are we really talking about MMO ? (1)

b00tleg (603482) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022218)

I actually played City of Heroes before I played WoW. CoH was probably the easiest MMO I have ever scene. Not to say it wasn't fun I only cancelled it because I spent too much time / money on it. When I got into WoW I was overwhelmed by how much extra complexity there was compared to CoH. I never felt like starting over/rerolling in WoW as I did in CoH. WoW succeeds because of all the options they offer... I need to get off slashdot, the more I see WoW news I want to sign backup. I've been clean for over a year now.

Re:Are we really talking about MMO ? (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023458)

I find it ironic that people who want their gameplay to be work look down on those who want their gameplay to be fun.

Regarding the original topic: I think the 'next big thing' will have to change the game significantly. Anyone trying to make a new WoW, or WoW in Space, or anything remotely like WoW is shooting themselves in the foot. They need to figure out WHY WoW works so damn well, and apply that to something different enough that people would want to play it instead.

It is going to be VERY difficult to make a EQ-style MMO without it being completely overshadowed by the 800 lb gorilla that is WoW.

Starcraft? (1)

Skywings (943119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021218)

How about World of Starcraft. I know this has been mentioned many times, but I do think it is a good idea. I'm hooked on to Eve Online. I can see something like Eve with a Starcraft theme. I'd buy it.

Re:Starcraft? (0, Redundant)

Marquis2 (1027570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021262)

I have thought about a world of starcraft also, I am a massive fan of blizzards work but after playing WoW for over 3 months I can't help but think it would just suck.

Re:Starcraft? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021560)

They'd be gutting their own WoW market.

Starcraft is arguably even better IP than Warcraft was, especially in Asian countries, so I'd be willing to bet money on "World of Starcraft" appearing in the future. The only question is when.

My guess is it'll probably appear about 1-2 years after subscription numbers for WoW drop below, say, 50% of current amount.

p.s. Doesn't Blizzard also have the Diablo IP? You can bet that will be turned into an MMO too. From a gameplay point of view this would be very interresting.

Re:Starcraft? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022018)

p.s. Doesn't Blizzard also have the Diablo IP? You can bet that will be turned into an MMO too. From a gameplay point of view this would be very interresting.

It already was. They just replaced "Diablo" with "Ragnaros"

Re:Starcraft? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021818)

"How about World of Starcraft. I know this has been mentioned many times, but I do think it is a good idea. I'm hooked on to Eve Online. I can see something like Eve with a Starcraft theme. I'd buy it."

Please no, Eve's pace of gameplay is enormously tedious and boring. It's great if you like waiting a lot but the lack of an optional skill based action oriented ship-to-ship fighting leaves a lot to be desired. Starcraft works on the principle of management but it also takes skill, speed and dedication. Eve is not such a game, all it takes in eve is time and dedication.

Re:Starcraft? (1)

scoser (780371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023134)

Sure, all it takes in Eve is time and dedication, until you get your butt kicked by someone with fewer skillpoints and a smaller ship, but more tactical acumen and skill. If you're saying you don't need skill or tactics to win in Eve, you're vastly wrong.

Re:Starcraft? (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023198)

Starcraft works on the principle of management but it also takes skill, speed and dedication. Eve is not such a game, all it takes in eve is time and dedication.

Not entirely true. Many of us who play Eve *like* the fact that you don't have to hop yourself up on caffiene just so you can click like a crack monkey in order to play the game and the primary determination of the encounter being who can click buttons faster than the other person. The main part of 1-vs-1 combat in Eve (or even small gang like 2-vs-2 or 3-vs-3) is fitting your ship (you can't really fit to counter all the possible tactics you'll encounter so you have to work on tactics that you think you can use best), choosing your targets, and then knowing what to do when in order to combat your opponent(s). Almost all of this comes from exactly what you say, time and dedication to the game, but with the additions of experience and being able to anticipate and deal with situations that don't go as you expect. Yes, it's a slower paced fighting game, but the depth of what you have to know in order to PvP well is a lot more than other games. For example, some knowledge of trigonometry is nice to have, if not being able to calculate sin/cos/tan to the 5th decimal place, but knowing how transverse and radial velocities effect your chances to hit your opponent given the weapons you have mounted is critical to the success of your chances of winning a fight (your guns hitting another ship is a bit more than your simply being in range and 'pointed' in the right direction).

Blob fighting is something else entirely (ok... everybody fire on ShipA, now everybody fire on ShipB, etc.)

What about the rest of us? (5, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021250)

You don't need FedEx quests, level grinding, and fairytales to have an MMO. All you need are lots of players interacting online. Yet for some reason the major studios don't get this. They feel that every MMO needs dumbassed level grinding, quests, etc. The same stuff we've seen over and over. There's no reason why a game as simple as Team Fortress Classic couldn't be an MMO.

WoW dominates the "traditional" MMO market right now. It's foolish to directly compete with WoW unless you have a strong IP, huge marketing budget, and gameplay that makes players to give up their WoW timesink for your timesink. Most startup MMO companies lack at least two of those things...

But you have a chance if you create an online game that appeals to other gamers. What do Half-Life 2, Halo, and Gears of War have in common? They're shooter games and they're best-sellers, yet no one has created a successful FPS MMO. That market is a potential long as devs steer clear of the traditional MMO crap.

Imagine a MMOFPS similar to Guild Wars. No monthly fee, but frequently-released expansions. There would be a co-op campaign where you and your party fight the baddies and advance through the game's storyline, all while gaining access to new weapons/skills. Add in some arenas for on-the-fly PvP combat, territorial conquest zones, and a some sort of guild structure. Now you've got yourself a game. Simplified, I know, but a competent studio could easily pull that off.

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021312)

There was a MMOFPS. It sucked because everyone camped the respawn spots.

Camp-proof respawning is possible (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022400)

There was a MMOFPS. It sucked because everyone camped the respawn spots.
Design defects like that are avoidable. Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64, a four-player FPS, had enough respawn spots such that if the game engine determined that a spot was being camped, it put a player somewhere else.

how many respawn spots do you need (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022478)

when it's a MMofps game

4 players huh? need a maximum of five respawn spots.

MMOFPS, one thousand people online, due to the type of game, 50% are sniper dicks
so, 501 respawn spots.. yeah, that scales well...

Re:how many respawn spots do you need (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022546)

Couldn't a bot just detect players who have stayed too long near one sniper point and ambush them? Or couldn't a group of dick-fighter players do the same?

Re:What about the rest of us? (2, Insightful)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021334)

Well, you know. Games like PlanetSide [] has proved to be not very successful. Fact is, many people want the traditional MMORPG gameplay.

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

niconorsk (787297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022014)

Just because an idea was tried and failed, doesn't mean that the idea in itself is bad. It could just mean that the implementation of said idea is bad.

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022058)

Actually, the game is pretty good. Game reviewers tend to agree. It's just not the formula that gets people addicted for years on end, working on their character. Character development will always play a minor part in MMOFPS games.

Re:What about the rest of us? (5, Insightful)

code-e255 (670104) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021712)

Although some people don't like the leveling treadmill, all those artificial time-sinks keep the people playing for a long time, and that's what MMO companies want.

What would be so great about an MMO Half-Life or whatever? As far as I know, the HL dedicated server already allows you to create a server with hundreds of players, but either the server can't handle the load, or people's connections aren't good enough to make everything appear smooth. In RPGs it doesn't matter if you're lagging a bit, but in an FPS, even a slight bit of lag can make the game unplayable. Internet technology isn't quite mature enough for a "real" twitch-skill MMOFPS.

Also, imho, in FPS games can have too many players. If you've got too many people shooting rockets and sh*t all over the place in a very small area, the quality of gameplay just deteriorates as you don't really have much control over winning. And if you'd have huge outdoor maps like in PlanetScape, you end up with loads of bland, uninspired terrain and no real exciting maps like in traditional FPS games.

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

B0red At W0rk (876713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022492)

Internet technology is mature enough in countries where broadband, multi-megabites per second is ubiquitous. Just not in North America :(

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023440)

There are other ways to keep a player engaged than dangle a never-achievable carrot in front of their noses.

Make a game world that's dynamic and actually changes based on socio-economic-political structures (ie..guilds) over time, without falling into the shadowbane trap... and you could have an amazing MMO that needs no 'grind' (or very minimal grind to play 90% of the game) to keep players engaged. Don't know if the server technology is there for it yet.. but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021808)

It's foolish to directly compete with WoW unless you have a strong IP, huge marketing budget, and gameplay that makes players to give up their WoW timesink for your timesink.

So I guess based on that warhammer on-line (one of the strongest ever IPs, rivalled only by LotR really) backed by EA Games (they have some spare money, i think) and good pvp is going to be the WoW killer then?

Re:What about the rest of us? (1)

jfodale (1032534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023166)

If anything has a chance of dethroning WoW, anytime soon at least, Warhammer is probably the best candidate. I foresee Warhammer attracting a lot of the PvP crowd from WoW.

Are you going to invent the hardware? (0, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022088)

Have you actually ever played Guild Wars? Good, then have you ever thought about the difference in hardware compared to say a WoW or Everquest OR that MMOFPS planetside?

That is right. Guild Wars ain't all that massive.

Guild Wars has a couple of 3D chat rooms were players meet up but were NOTHING happens. From there extremely small groups of players head out into the game world that is unique for each group. This makes it a lot simpler to keep the world going serverside. You only need a machine capable of handling a handfull of players. Not a massive cluster capable of keeping thousands of players in the same space.

Guild Wars is a brilliant design but it ain't a true MMO, it is the reason why they don't need a monthly subscription fee but may it also be the reason why it doesn't equall WoW in its success?

Then there is another problem with Guild Wars. Even in its tiny gamespaces it suffers from some serious warping. Not that much of a problem with auto-targetted magic attacks BUT a real problem for a FPS.

The simple reason that FPS or for that matter direct combat has not made it big into MMO land is because the nature of beast doesn't lend itself to this.

And FPS players are cheap bastards. You expect a company to come up with hardware a great deal more powerfull then needed for WoW but also want it to be free.

You also over estimate the appeal of FPS. The simple fact is that WoW has shown the world that FPS just ain't popular. Just add up all the people that PAY for multiplayer FPS and then look at the 8 million PAYING subscribers for WoW.

I am not even sure that the number of free players of games like counterstrike can reach that number. But who cares anyway. You need paying customers. Not people who want everything for free.

Follow the money.

Re:Are you going to invent the hardware? (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022330)

You also over estimate the appeal of FPS. The simple fact is that WoW has shown the world that FPS just ain't popular. Just add up all the people that PAY for multiplayer FPS and then look at the 8 million PAYING subscribers for WoW.

What does WoW have to do with FPS games? They aren't mutually exclusive or even competing for customers. WoW has broader appeal and has lesser system requirements than many FPS games, but that doesn't mean that FPS games are suddenly umpopular. Also, it's not technically possible to make a MMO FPS games on par with WoW.

"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (4, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021256)

"World of Warcraft" is the MMORPG.
On the issue:
Building a World of Warcraft successor is easy. Look at what they do, copy it and do it better. Improve the things that aren't good and add the things that are missing. Generally the japanese do this sort of things when it comes to electronics. It's the very same way people could build an iPod killer. It's just that somebody still hasn't built a single device that can compete with it on the most simple specs (large memory, video capability, ease of use, decent looks).
Same goes for WoW. Look at the game. Play it. Aside from Monopoly sucktion it's advantages are very real and obvious.
1) Runs easily on older hardware without looking like crap.
2) Runs on Macs and plays nice with mac users. (potential universal opinion leaders when it comes to nice gaming and fun stuff)
3) Takes 90 seconds for the most ultimate n00b get into.
4) Slowly reveals it's complexity bit by bit without overwelming anybody at any point.
5) Has a powerleveling 'grind option', but not an omnipresent one.
6) Has an optional powerquesting stance.
7) Is beautyful and content laden enough for all who just like to run around and are not to interested in 5 or 6.
8) Has a super addictive end-game that even amplifies the underlying 'diabolo collectors habit' subnote of the entire career in conjunction with strong multiplay / competetive play.
9) Has subtle Humor made by the actuall builders, doesn't take itself so serious - important if your offering a full-time imersive VR.
10) Builds on a world that is not and doesn't have to be realistic or even plausible when considering distances between regions (this is why LotR online will fail. The Shire is 25 minutes away from Mordor - how weird is that?)
11) Dedicated company and team with sufficient cash and corporate strategy backing. Blizzard made a decision and came through with it all the way. No half-assed stuff. And, look, a miracle! They've got a game that works and people like! Unbelieveable!

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1, Funny)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021356)

Yeah. Sounds absolutely simple. A BABY could do it. :P

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (0, Flamebait)

bug1 (96678) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021488)

WoW has some major weaknesses as well.
  - 2 years in and they still dont have class balance, it looks like they never will.
  - Deadend skill progression system

Unless youve played eve-online you probably dont appreciate how broken aspects of WoW are.

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021970)


So a blacksmith can make armor but can't repair his own?

Why does all the high-level smithing gear suck compared to what you can farm/grind for?

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022030)

Honestly, has there ever been a Multiplayer Blizzard game that had anything resembling class balance?

The fire sorceress over there says "no."

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1)

Saffaya (702234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022132)


The balance is what keeps the game still relevant 10+ years after.

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022162)

How many patches did that take? Because it still didn't exist last time I played it (which was, admittedly, when it was still newish... 8 or 9 years)

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022420)

Yea... but seriously... how do you stop the siege tank rush with marine and bunker line support as Zerg? If you go straight for queens with Spawn Broodlings you can get that shortly after the Terran has siege mode, however this timing assumes the Zerg built almost no units or defenses while the Terran players can simultaneously build an army.

I guess the real counter is to harass well with Zerglings to delay their buildup, but on a large map it can be difficult to get them there in time to still be effective.

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022342)

Kind of hard to create balance when every class is convinced that its nerfed, broken and generally worthless, unlike all those other classes that are overpowered, imba and ez-mode.

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18022350)

Mostly agree with you but two points.

- Not sure what the Mac Client has to do with anything. Your parened comment seemed to imply that Mac opinion has some sort of importance in the gaming world. I'm assumed I'm misintepreting the comment cause that's just silly. Like it or not, PC's still dominate the game world and we don't really care what mac players think about the 10 or so games they have access to (that are worth a crap). Now, that said, it doesn't HURT to have a mac client, but it's mostly irrelevant to the final success of WOW.

- LOTR will fail not because it's not 'real' (are you serious?) It will fail cause the UI is like 5 years behind the curve. Why you think people won't play a game because the travel distances aren't accurate is beyond me.

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18022404)

Yeah, and "Zelda" is a female name, while "The Legend of Zelda" is a game series. Give me a break.

Re:"Warcraft" is not a MMORPG. Warcraft is an RTS. (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022908)

Building a World of Warcraft successor is easy. Look at what they do, copy it and do it better.

Yeah, and then all you have to do is convince WoW's 5 million+ players to give a rat's ass.


Huh? (2, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021260)

The article seems to imply that WoW has somehow paved the way for indie games. I quote:

"Things were much simpler only a few years ago, when practically all video games were developed or published by industry giants such as Electronic Arts, TakeTwo, and Activision.... Then came World of Warcraft...."

Maybe I'm behind the times, but how has WoW made it more possible, suddently, for indie games to make it big? That might be the case if Blizzard were a small-time developer, but we know that's not true. Blizzard might not be as massive as EA, but they're one of the biggest names in gaming, a company who makes games that are universally expected to be good. How does their making WoW change the scenario the author talks about? Just don't get that.

Re:Huh? (1)

js92647 (917218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021270)

*cough* Vivendi

Re:Huh? (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022784)

Yeah and if I recall correctly it's budget was upwards of 50 million USD. That's definitely not an indie budget.

Development approach the key to MMORPG success? (3, Interesting)

IndieKid (1061106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021470)

Anyone looking to make the next WoW killer would be well advised to look at the way Blizzard went about it. A MMORPG is not something that can be turned out in a couple of years with a standard development team to make use of some film licence; it takes significant investment, in terms of time, manpower and cash. Of course, that's not to say that using existing fictitious worlds as a starting point is a bad idea - MMOs need a lot of content to sustain them and getting the appropriate intellectual property owners on board could make sense. I think a lot of the obvious licences have already been used for MMOs though (Star Wars, the Matrix and Lord of the Rings spring to mind). End-user involvement is critical to the success of a MMO game. Any MMO game that is developed behind closed doors and then unleashed on the world is doomed to failure in my opinion. Extensive alpha and beta programmes open to anyone willing to participate are something the industry are going to have to get used to. If your game is any good chances are that the guys you had playing in beta will spread the word and you'll have a ready made subscriber-base when you go live.

Make the skill bar actually take skill. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021538)

Instad of mashing the only skills that do stuff, make all the skills balanced such that combat involves choosing the right move for the right situation. I know when I played my icemage, I'd just keep casting frostbolt, then when something got near me frost nova, backup a step, frostbolts again, the reset the frost skills, frost nova, backup a step, frost bolts until dead. In a group, sometime I'd cast ice block to save myself from the tremendous aggro I got for doing the most damage in the group. In 60 levels, I was only using like 4 skills. You'd think a game could be more complex and make you really think during the game so your choices on the skillbar mattered depending on the situation at hand, instead of a boring repetitive sequence for each battle.

Of course this leads you to the next step: Tekken Online. A game where you have to fight out battles unarmed or with a weapon like hackand slash, but gives you stats to build your character so harder monsters can be taken out with more ease. The moves shouldn't be as hard as a traditional fighter, but instead of trying to mash the right buttons to get off harder moves, they just cost more power and you have to earn them.

Re:Make the skill bar actually take skill. (1)

Dan B. (20610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021772)

That doesn't work simply due to the massive amount of key input data the server needs to process. Even WoW struggles with it's paltry couple of k/s to each player. And they are mostly only hitting one to three keys every 2.5 seconds.

Think about it this way.

10,000 players on a realm.
1 input per player per second, plus movement data, opponent data, and environment data (surrounding units, etc. say 10).
Each player needing to be updated, on average, with only 10 other players inputs / movements.
Lets just say one byte (a whole eight bits) per each of the above on line 2.

( 1 + 1 + 1 + 10 ) x 10 x 10,000

That is about 1.25 MB / sec going in and out of the server, not counting in game mail, auctions, loot, etc. with numbers I just totally made up. In terms of network speed, that is 10Mbit/s of saturated pipe. There are something like 150 realms for WoW and it gets laggy at times, sure, but it copes pretty well imho.

How much input do you give your dude in Tekken in 1 sec? If you play like me, probably enough to give yourself a blister on you thumb after 2 hours. And you only have one other opponent. Multiply that sort of input to the processor out and you will see just why you can't have a 'skill' requirement client side.

Re:Make the skill bar actually take skill. (1)

andi75 (84413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021802)

I agree that solo'ing single mobs is quite braindead. But you have to use your wits if you want to battle three same or higher lvl mobs (depending on your gear ofc.) and you're already low on mana/hp. Also, if you play a hybrid class (shaman/druid), group play is a lot more interesting, at least when the instance is challenging enough. You have to constantly adapt to the situation and decide between

1) getting aggro off the clothies
2) heal those clothies instead, while the tank hopefully gets the aggro back
3) heal the tank instead, because the priest is getting clobbered
4) make sure your ego is satisfied (i.e. you're still on top of the damage meter)

Re:Make the skill bar actually take skill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18022548)

I haven't played a mage to a high enough level to know if it really becomes that boring (at levels less than 20, I'm using all the abilities available up to that point often), but at least for other classes, the problem is that you run out of space using the default UI. Even though I enable all action bars, I run out of space. While obviously many of the abilities aren't needed frequently enough in combat to require hotkeys, the default 1-= hasn't been enough for any class I've played beyond level 30.

Of course, using 20 different abilities becomes routine as well, and for simpler mobs/bosses often only 4-5 of those are needed, but I don't see how that could be too different.

For raiding content, the key isn't the amount of abilities used, but the overall tactics of the fight and working together. Granted, MC is ridiculously easy once you learn it, but it gets more interesting after that (well, I haven't seen the TBC raiding content).

Puzzle pirates (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021550)

they call Puzzle Pirates silly

Well, yeah, it is silly, but in a good way. It is supposed to be a bit of playful, lighthearted fun, not a gritty realistic pirate simulation complete with veneral diseases and scurvy....

And as the article points out, they are doing quite well with that concept. Also check out the upcoming Bang!Howdy [] by the same team. Java based, just like RuneScape [] , and Wurm Online [] . The last one is pretty impressive considering it is made by only two developers.

Re:Puzzle pirates (1)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021664)

They call PP silly because it doesn't match the same gameplaying market. Most of the masses of World of Warcraft and the other MMORPGs base their systems around fighting to gain experience and items to improve fighting and levels, then skills, and so on, with a nicely interlinked system of "improve X to speed up your increase in everything else". The mindset of hardcore gamers varies, but it's leagues different from the mindset of those people interested in PP. Three Rings have put significant effort into keeping PP lighthearted, to almost completely eliminate that leveling grind (the only "levels" are a simple unlocking of gameplay, aimed to introduce a gentle learning curve and achievable within a day no matter what your skill level. With no grind, no prizes or items that increase or decrease your skill level (and they've specifically said they won't put any in), almost nothing to increase your chances of "winning" - this is completely unappealing to most MMORPG veterans.

Handily for PP, that's not the kind of people they're targetting anyway. The game is incredibly social - you win more money by understanding how to work as a team, and you win more money by sticking with a team for a while.

By being a light game, they're targetting a completely different market from WoW and the likes. That means they get customers. It's still utterly possible to be elite, to grind vast amounts of money, and so on - but that depends on your inherent skill at the puzzles.

It's also the only game I know of that awards a significant amount of ingame prizes for forum competitions - art, poetry, art, making monkeys out of socks and rubber bands, art, making comics, writing stories, even singing can win prizes. You barely have to play at all and you can get a (rare, but completely decorative, worth lots and lots of money) parrot or monkey on your shoulder. Alternatively you can avoid the forums completely and spend the time enjoying role-based teaming where everyone plays to their natural strengths.

If you look at PP from a WoW's-eye view, yeah, it's silly. If you look at WoW from a PP's-eye view, it's draining, time-hogging, and grind is one hell of a negative word.

World of Starcraft (2, Interesting)

Dan B. (20610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021672)

What do you think it's going to take to crack Blizzard's deathlock on the Massive genre?

As per the subject line, World of Starcraft.

Well, not exactly that, but it would be good. The only thing I see breaking the MMO market now is something that gamers love (FPS), rolled in to the same detailed and compelling game we return to day after day (MMORPG). What I see is an FPS come RPG title based in a world that thrives on people banding together to achieve goals, but leaves the door open for PvP combat a-la the WoW style PvP servers.

The key factor would of course be the ability of the developer to work out some sort of faction / race / class based system with the familiar leveling / gearing requirment, and rolling in an FPS front end. Three way battles like those in Starcraft would be awesome, as the current Horde vs. Alliance system in WoW is getting a bit tired.

I still play WoW nearly 20 hours a week, down from over 40 to sometimes 60 a week last year, but would jump straight in to World of Starcraft if it were to miraculously appear in the above stated incarnation.

Re:World of Starcraft (1)

Dom1105 (1018894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021814)

"WoW has some major weaknesses as well. - 2 years in and they still dont have class balance, it looks like they never will. - Deadend skill progression system "

WHAT !?! that is so WRONG that I can not come to the conclusion of why some one would say it. The classes are very balanced, maybe not in EVERY single aspect but overall. IE- Warriors get lots of health but lack mana, the must use rage which depletes over time and is only restored by being hit or by hitting something else. / Priests get the shaft in almost every respect except that they can heal themselves and others. / Mages get boatloads of mana for attacks that use boatloads of mana, and they do boatloads of damage. you may not think it but the classes are balanced enough as it is already. If the classes were any more balanced it would take all of the fun out of the game. as for the skill progression the skills are just fine the way they are. you start getting skills at level 10 and you get 1 per level after that. giving you 60 skill points to spend on any of your choice of 3 different skill branches that will help you in different areas. (IE- priests have a "holy" branch which improves healing, a "Discipline" branch which improves their stats and non healing spells, and a "Shadow" branch which improves their attack spells.)

Re:World of Starcraft (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022034)

The classes are very balanced, maybe not in EVERY single aspect but overall.

Put down the joint. Your over-enthusiastic quoting makes it clear you've had enough, long before anyone even reads your fangasm screed.

None Will Succeed (4, Informative)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021694)

I only played WoW briefly, but I know enough as a regular player does to know no other company at present will "beat" WoW. Why? Their personal limitations.

Other companies, won't take a chance. How many MMO's can claim they offer player based scripting for god knows how many in game effects? Or any of the other features WoW has? Despite the fact I dislike WoW, Blizzard did do that that right; Instead of coming up with some super special features of their own that other MMO's didn't have, they cherry picked what they thought were the best features. Not stolen content mind you but just things that an MMO should have. Case in point, umpteenth kinds of filters for the various chat huds. You'd be amazed that not every MMO offers a good deal of filters like WoW, or hell even any filters at all.

And the engine itself, of WoW, is the killer. Sure it's not really some supreme graphical eye candy people expect three years later after it's release but that is the point. Blizzard took a chance. They released a game engine that surprisingly works very well on low end hardware PC's which people tend to forget makes up the majority of gamers. Ever wonder why Counter Strike 1.6 is probably the most popular first person shooter, still, to date? Cause Half Life 1 can be run on some very low end hardware (if I remember right, the HL1 engine is a modified Quake 2 engine). Point being, no other MMO company is going to cater to low end PC users. More and more MMO's have such huge graphical requirements. You think Vanguard is going to topple WoW? No. Even if the gameplay and options of the client matched that of WoW, they'd still be eliminating a huge chunk of the 7 million WoW base (asssuming Vanguard had 7 mil) simply cause a good portion of those people wouldn't be even able to run the game.

Blizzard rolled the dice and won. They took a chance on merging a ton of features from various MMO's and a game engine that wasn't exactly the top of the game when it came out, and it worked. You find me another developer that will take those chances, and you'll find yourself a candidate for a WoW successor.

Re:None Will Succeed (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021776)

if I remember right, the HL1 engine is a modified Quake 2 engine

Valve modified the Quake 1 engine actually, but since they took so long to release Q2 had been out for a while. Most people assumed it was the Q2 engine they based it on since it looked so good.

Re:None Will Succeed (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021988)

> Blizzard took a chance. They released a game engine that surprisingly works very well on low end hardware PC's which people tend to forget makes up the majority of gamers.

Completely agreed! But the reason this _worked_ is because the world is cartoony to begin with, so it is easier to forgive the low-poly modeling.

This is one reason UO lasted so long -- you could play it on laptops.

Re:None Will Succeed (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022904)

Blizzard's art direction is just so fantastic that they can afford to dial down the graphics while still making it look quite lush and truely like another world.

I remember the first time I walked through Ashenvale, for instance. The way the trees and everything are done, they takes your attention away from the low polygon count and manage to portray this lush new world that you've definitely never seen before.

That brings me to another point...every zone in WoW is fairly unique and full of content and things to do. In other MMO's I've always found there have been either zones that look alike, or zones that feel kind of barren and empty. However in WoW, even the barrens/desolace/take_your_pick feels alive. These things go a long way towards the feeling of the overall polish and impression the game gives you while playing, and it's that little attention to detail that I find most game companies overlook.

The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18021826)

Blizzard is constantly building a better WoW themselves. Any new MMORPG that tries to wrestle players from WoW would have to keep the same staggering pace of updates that Blizzard does.

I've been playing WoW from release day until now. I've killed bosses in some the hardest dungeons in the game before the expansion, like AQ40 and Naxx, got rank 10 in the old pvp system, and I've been level 70 since the end of January (the expansion was released on the 16th of January, heh). Yes yes, I have no life etc. Honestly I don't really spend that much time playing, it's pretty easy to login for a raid or 5-man dungeon, and logout after you're done. Which brings me to why WoW is so hard to beat: they're always responding to player feedback, and improving the game. One of the biggest complaints was the lack of 5-man dungeon content in the game compared to raid content. I really shouldn't use the word "lack" though, it only seems that way compared to raid content. At launch of the original WoW, there were three 5-man dungeons for level 60 players, a 10 man, and two 40 mans. Blizzard added one more 5-man, and 3 more 40-mans. So naturally players that don't like to raid felt left out. The expansion has a 5-man in almost every zone. There are 15 brand new 5-man dungeons in total, and 6 raid dungeons (one is a 10-man, the rest are 25-man instead of 40 like original WoW). All this is due mostly to player feedback. It's amazing to have hit the level cap and feel like there's still so much to do. I've been to every 5-man in the expansion at least once already, and I've enjoyed them all. I haven't tried any raids yet (our guild's first official raid isn't until March, to give everyone time to hit 70).

Basically, from what I've seen of the expansion (which is a lot), Blizzard took everything people didn't like about WoW end-game at level 60 and improved upon it in some way with end-game at 70. With so many small group dungeons to choose from, groups of friends that play together and small guilds now have much more to do after hitting the cap. All the 5-man dungeons are fairly fast-paced, only a few have lots of trash mobs. You can summon people right to the door of a dungeon using Meeting Stones. The end-game seems to have been streamlined to allow people to have less downtime preparing to play so that people can just dive into a dungeon and have fun right away.

Even the most casual players, and the ones with the most busy schedules, are starting to reach 70 now. I feel like the leveling curve was really well paced, fast enough to not feel like much of a grind, and slow enough that it doesn't feel worthless when you hit your next level. It's really an exciting time to be playing WoW right now, and I honestly can't wait to see what Blizzard decides to put in next. If anyone's going to build a better WoW, it's Blizzard.

Re:The problem is... (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023574)

Staggering updates???? Are you kidding me? Unless you are talking about how freakin' slow they are, you've had too much of the WoW Kool-Aid.

Let's think about this. Let's compare EQ2 and WoW, since they came out within 2 weeks of each other.

WoW, 1 expansion (just released) and some free content added. Only hotfixes bugs that have a positive effect on a character. Took over 6 months to put a test server up. Major patch every 1-2 months (with the most recent expansion getting a little more patch activity.) Horrible patching method, login queues.

EQ2, 3 expansions and 3 adventure packs, which you had to pay for, unless you have a Sony All Access account. (The last expansion contains all game content, btw. Buy it, and you get the original plus the 3 expansions.) Hotfix on any bug that shows up and gets fixed. 31 "Live Updates" (major patches) since release. A test server from day 1. Fast patches from a direct server (only the EoF patch took a while, and that was a massive patch for a full expansion) and no login queues.

I played WoW for 9 months with a casual gameplay style, duoing with the wife and grouping for instances with guildmates. The gameplay itself I loved until 60. One of my biggest beefs with WoW, besides the total boredom of gear grinding at lvl 60, was the fact that bugs that should have been a simple fix were always held back for a full patch, unless it benefited the players. Give us a bug that made content easier, and that got fixed fast. Give us a bug that borked a whole class, and it waited a month or more. They wait because a small patch with their patching method of P2P file sharing for a small patch makes for a poor way to handle it. If the patch is over in 2 minutes, there isn't time to share it.

And, they were famous for breaking the same thing with each patch they did. They had like 3-4 patches in a row where they borked corpse looting to the point it took a full minute to get the item(s) from a corpse. They'd fix it after 2 or so weeks, and then the next patch would come out, and break it again.

WoW is a great game from 1-60 (now 70, but I haven't played that part), with just about anyone being able to solo or duo a ton of content, and now single group instances for high-end content is even better. We may never see a game hit so many people like WoW did.

But updates? I'm sorry, but game updates are Blizzard's weakest point on WoW. And the primary reason is their horrible patching method. If someone created another game just like WoW, and had a better patcher and no login queues, Blizzard could have problems.

wow killer will not be a pc game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18022070)

The wow killer will be the first group to bring a system with the complexity, subsription model and stickiness of WoW to a console (or consoles - imagine cross platform WoW).

This would justify a unique keyboard controller.

Get the gaming equivalent of Wow off the PC and onto the high def TV in the living room and the world economy will collapse due to videogame addiction.

The easiest way to beat WoW. (3, Interesting)

MaXimillion (856525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022192)

Pokemon MMORPG.
I'm being serious here. It's one of the most popular game franchises, and well-known to non-gamers as well. The consept and playstyle lend themselves well to MMORPG gameplay. All that's needed is to take the good stuff from popular MMO's, mix them together with the Pokemon brand, and you'll have a game that'll get ten times the amount of players WoW has.

Re:The easiest way to beat WoW. (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022502)

I hate to admit it but you're right, it does at least have the potential. *IF* it was done well, but since they can't seem to take it anywhere beyond the formula used in the first game that seems unlikely. At least the Warlock and Hunter players will take a serious look at it.

COPPA? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022504)

But how will Nintendo be able to handle all the COPPA paperwork from under-13 children signing up to play Pokémon online?

C,mon Bethesda! (1)

j3rryman (1014543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022196)

Although i never really followed the story in the WC franchise, I do think blizz has a competent make-beleive world going. As a player/addict, I don't see myself leaving til there's a Elder Scrolls MMO.

Well, WoW works (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022258)

Is it perfect? No. Could you make a game that simply improves on its mistakes? Possibly.

But what are its mistakes, and are they really mistakes or are they fundemental parts of the nature of MMO gaming.

It would be easy to think that you simply visit the WoW forums, note down the complaints of gamers and ex-gamers and then fix these in your game.

But wich to follow? Do you cater to the PvP haters or lovers?

WoW currently caters to both PvP and PvE but that also means neither side gets exactly the dedication they want. So they complain. BUT would a game without one be that successfull? Just how big is the subscriber base that is satisfied with the current combo? People who are satisfied tend not to post on forums. They are to busy having a good time in the game.

Same with the crafting/loot system. Again WoW has sought the middle ground, essentially both systems of getting your equipment are competing with each other. This means that pure crafters have a reduced market while at the same time those who are looting get lots of useless materials they need to sell.

And again, would a game that focusses on one exclusively (SWG had a pure crafting system) be that succesfull?

You could create a MMORPG were levelling up isn't everything. Were grinding to X isn't the primary goal. That would make the RPG crowd perhaps happier but might loose you all the grinding monkeys who no longer have an epenis to wave around.

WoW in many areas seeks the middle road. It works. 8+million people think the bits they like are better then the bits they don't like.

If you are going to change anything in that design you need to realize that you are going to please some but most likely upset a hell of a lot of other players.

Go pure PvP and you MIGHT appease those PvPers who left but you are going to loose for sure every single PvE player. PLUS a significant part of the players who like a bit of both.

Just read every comment here that suggests an obvious improvement and then ask youreselve what the total effect would be.

Then again, until WoW entered the market, people said that the MMORPG market had been saturated and that any new game could only poach from other games.

So is WoW the final MMORPG or is it just a more succesfull EQ waiting to be dethroned by the next comany.

WoW killer? (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022540)

One word: Tribes.

Re:WoW killer? (1)

DJ Paradox (219601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022850)

One word: Spore

Re:WoW killer? (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022942)

Spore wouldn't make a very good MMOFPS.


nonos (158469) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022938)

The Warcraft killer has to be huge (many many many servers) and free (no monthly fees). Why not a P2P application ?

Scripting / Modding Support (2, Interesting)

Shrubber (552857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023010)

I think part of WoW's success (part, not the biggest reason) is its built in framework for allowing users to customize the UI and create addons. It was a brilliant move to simply base a lot of the UI around previously existing script technology (Lua) and allow users to customize that. They have had to make some changes along the way to lock specific things down, but it is far better than any other MMOGs before, if I were forced to I wouldn't play with the default UI anymore.

That is why Second Life is so important, it will probably never amount to much on its own but the idea of allowing that next level of user created content will be integrated into other games. Second Life will influence games in the future as people borrow those ideas.

I think World of Warcraft has at least another two years of dominance before anyone else even has a remote chance of pulling away some of its player base, but I also think that any game that does will need to have a modifiable UI and robust scripting system in order to do it.

What it would take (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023038)

I consider myself a fairly hardcore gamer- at least as close to a hard core gamer as one can be and still retain a full time job. I've always liked the concept of the MMORPG, and I've tried several different games, both large and well known (Ragnarok, WoW, CoH, DoaC) and less well known (A Tale in the Desert, Eternal Lands), and I've never played any game for more than 2 or 3 months.
I have since come to the conclusion that there are a few things that any MMO will have to deal with before I will consider giving it a shot. The first, and most important to me is, Eliminate Metagaming in MMOs. I realize that some amount of metagaming will always be present, but it seems like every MMO that I've played has really been all about the metagaming, with a small amount of lip service paid to the actual game.
The second thing that I want to see is for players to have the ability to have an effect on the game world. Specifically, I would like to see some sort of AI applied to NPCs which would allow dynamically generated generic NPC quests. If you've seen some of the demos for the Radiant AI that Bethesda developed for Oblivion (they eventually dropped most of what the developed in the actual release, because it was too processor intensive and they were having trouble tuning it from what I understand- but there are some interesting demo videos out there, they are included in the bonus DVD with the Oblivion collectors edition for the 360- probably available online as well) then this isn't so far out. If NPC Joe wants me to retrieve the Orb of Flabotanum for him, once I get it to him, then I don't really want 47 other people also retreiving the same thing.
I think that if a game developer could address these two issues, so that characters were actually role played, and that the PCs really could affect the world (even if the effects are largely just token nods to what the players have done) then it would get me, and a lot of other MMO hold outs, on board.
The problem of course is that I'm not sure how many people would want a game like I described. It seems most people like metagamming and grinding the same quest a hundred times, so I don't hold out much hope that a game will ever be made. Oh well, there is always still D&D on IRC- the real MMORPG.

Re:What it would take (1)

jfodale (1032534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023274)

"What do you think it's going to take to crack Blizzard's deathlock on the Massive genre?" WoW will kill itself in time. Most MMOs do. Look at past MMOs - one of two things almost always happens.

1) The designers make a huge mistake and make an extremely unpopular change to the game.
2) The game accumulates so many expansions and endgame content that it is near impossible to attract new blood to the game.

Have we forgotten about Everquest already? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023182)

...talking about the MMOG goldrush and the business consequences World of Warcraft has had on the games industry...

Have we forgotten about Everquest already? It would seem the same story could have been written 4 years ago...

How about world of grand theft auto? (1)

psyder (710398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023530)

GTA has a great following and a world allready built up :)

Re:Have we forgotten about Everquest already? (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023816)

Yeah! I remember when EQ hit 8 million subs.

Hey i still play Ultima Online (1)

zoggins (17967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18023896)

The graphics are a bit dated, but the players are great and the game is still fun after 9 years.
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