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Beating WoW At Its Own Game

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the shadow-of-the-collossus dept.

Role Playing (Games) 383

The BBC has up a short piece on the hopes of game developers and investors to 'beat World of Warcraft'. Representatives for the upcoming Age of Conan, recently-released Lord of the Rings Online, and Star Wars Galaxies all discuss what it's like competing in a post-WoW world. Funcom game director Gaute Godoger has a point when he says, "The industry so needs competition to World of Warcraft ... We need other strong games that can make people understand that there's more to it than WoW." The article discusses some of the features each of these games offer that differ from WoW, and theorizes a bit on where the MMOG genre will go next.

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383 comments

No first post (5, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#19020891)

Due to everyone playing WoW, there will be no first post for this article.

Re:No first post (3, Insightful)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021127)

Fuck no! We do NOT need games more addicting than Warcrack.

Links about WoW addiction:
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/WOW_widow [yahoo.com]
http://soulkerfuffle.blogspot.com/2006/10/view-fro m-top.html [blogspot.com]
http://wowdetox.com/ [wowdetox.com]
http://wowrecovery.com/ [wowrecovery.com]
http://deletewow.com/ [deletewow.com]
One out of many particularly sad stories: http://www.wowdetox.com/view.php?number=13640 [wowdetox.com]

Re:No first post (4, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022653)

Perhaps the real point here is, "people who have problems with addiction shouldn't engage in behaviors that can, *for some people*, be addicting"?

I mean, comeon, I like a self-reinforcing, carrot-stick game well enough, but lately I can't get around to playing it. The game (or any game) on its own isn't nefarious. But, I suppose we have to villianize it *somehow*, right?

Re:No first post (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022911)

The game is not the addiction. The escape is the addiction. I've seen a woman's three kids wind up fucked up because she was J.Random IRC slut who would blow off taking care of her kids to drive eight miles to get laid because she had no self esteem. This is likely the result of some childhood abuse; a truly disturbing percentage of children are abused... And of course, whether she abused her children physically or not (I rate it unlikely, but what do I know? She was more the cut-herself-in-the-bathroom type) she abused them emotionally. WoW is not the problem...

Do some research (5, Interesting)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19020903)

The article refers to the Star Wars Galaxies updates as minor fixes and modifications that made players happier and expanded the player base. A simple check would have shown that after every major overhaul, experienced players left in droves and were replaced by noobs. Then to top it off it touts adding creature handling as a new feature (neglecting to add that it had existed long before, but they removed it). Surprising that SOE finally admitted maybe people liked raising animals, and put a feature people wanted in a game.
 
Yes, I rant, but being an avid fan of SWG before the Combat Upgrade, I can tell you that SWG is no longer the game it was. And then it was beaten while it was down with the New Game Experience which turned it into an action game instead of an RPG. Poor SOE, if you want to release a new RPG, do it. Don't replace what people were playing with something else, ESPECIALLY if they are paying a subscription.

Re:Do some research (1)

andy9701 (112808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022067)

Yeah, I agree. Funny how they don't mention how much crappier crafting is now vs. before the first "upgrade". I also like how in the next patch, there are player run events...which I remember participating in two years ago.

How do you beat WoW at it's own game? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19020905)

You don't play it. WoW, like all MMORPGs, are an abomination and it is an insult to the game industry to call it a game. Likewise for the other games mentioned in the summary and article.

Re:How do you beat WoW at it's own game? (3, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021277)

Quoth the Tao of Programming:

A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day. The master noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game. ``Excuse me,'' he said, ``may I examine it?''

The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master. ``I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium, and Hard,'' said the master. ``Yet every such device has another level of play, where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the human.''

``Pray, great master,'' implored the novice, ``how does one find this mysterious setting?''

The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it underfoot. And suddenly the novice was enlightened.

Re:How do you beat WoW at it's own game? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021493)

That reads like a Zen koan, not anything the Taoists would write.

Re:How do you beat WoW at it's own game? (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022355)

If you have ice cream, I will give you ice cream. If you have no ice cream, I will take it away from you.

This is the ice cream kaon.

SWG one of the first MMOs? (2, Insightful)

wolfen (12255) | more than 7 years ago | (#19020919)

I love how the Star Wars Galaxies guy tries to excuse their massive screwups by saying SWG was one of the first MMOs and that "their wasn't a manual then for how to do them"

Hmmm... didn't SW:G come out after Dark Age of Camelot which was a nice MMO that was based around the concept of "Do Everquest but make it fun"?

Maybe the SW:G team could have spent some time with the Everquest team to help them avoid making the exact same missteps?

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 7 years ago | (#19020961)

Maybe if VMS could have been a Multics clone, we'd all be running secure OSes by now, too.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021037)

SWG's excuse is bullshit; if they claim they had little material to base upon, you'd expect them to be atleast as playable as those "few" MMO's that were there. They didn't even succeed at that.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (2, Informative)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021159)

SWG was in the third generation of MMOGs. Everquest and 10six were the first generation of 3D MMOs. (There were dozens of 2D and text games that qualified as massively multiplayer before them, Ultima Online being the most well-known. Call them the zeroth generation.) The second wave included DAoC, AC, and AO. None of them hit it big, and some were laughingstocks like WWIIOnline. The third generation is when MMOGs really got rolling, with CoH, SWG, and Lineage. WoW is in the fourth generation, and has become the 800 pound gorilla of the internet.

Incidentally, the second generation MMOG Anarchy Online was also made by Funcom, the people who are doing the Age of Conan. Considering what a buggy, frustrating and at times repellent mess AO was, I'd stay far away from Age of Conan. These are people with grand ideas and wonderful creativity, but they cannot code worth a damn.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021191)

AC, UO, and EQ were the first generation of MMORPG's, don't know where you're getting your facts from but they are wrong.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (2, Interesting)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021285)

Gah, I keep forgetting Meridian 59, which was 3D and predated Everquest by a few years. It was one of the few early MMOs I never played.

Anyway, Wikipedia has a good history of MMORPGs, [wikipedia.org] although they only define three distinct generations. I think the popularity of games like Lineage and the visibility of games like SWG caused the WoW phenomenon, and should be seen as the fathers of the current generation of games.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021429)

I agree with Hubbell. Your facts are off. If I were to speculate, I'd guess you just started playing MMO's a few years back.


Here's some reading to catch you up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_MMORPGs [wikipedia.org]

Everything I see it mention of which I have any knowledge is correct to my recollection. I heard about Meridian 59, but I didn't enter the MMO world until UO when I started in October 97 I beat tested AC, DAoC, AO, SWG, Guildwars, Lineage, Shadowbane, D&DO and a few others. UO, WoW and LotRO are the only ones I've played retail. Hoping to beta test Tabula Rasa.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022017)

I wrote about MMORPGs for a gaming site in 2000/2001, and played almost all of those early games, so I have a little experience to base all that on. I also posted the same link you did about eight minutes ahead of you.

But yes, my initial post (somebody mod it down, please) was based on memory, and my memory was faulty. AC was released almost simultaneously with Everquest. Lineage actually predated Everquest in Asia, although it didn't reach America for a few years. Everything else I wrote (especially the warnings about Funcom) is pretty accurate.

So, I apologize, mea culpa -- memory error, data corrupted. Take whatever you find useful, discard the rest. Then we can all get around to speculating about Spore again. Here's hoping it dents WoW's dominance.

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021219)

Yes, saying SWG was one of the first and they had nothing on which to base it is utter crap.


I cannot remember what year SWG came out (2000? 01?), but what I do distinctly remember is that Raph Koster was in charge of development and production overall AFTER he left the Ultima Online development team where he'd been for about two years after retail release (release September 1997).

If Raph's experience in developing and launching UO (by all means one of THE first MMO games) wasn't good enough, then what better experience could they possibly get?

I think SOE's statement should read "We didn't know what we were doing. We just stumbled along like the other MMO's of the time. We really wish we would have had some original ideas and real talent like those guys over at Blizzard. Who knew you could learn from other peoples' successes and mistakes?"

Re:SWG one of the first MMOs? (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022889)

I'm confused: Why wouldn't MUDs be considered the first MMOs?

Reps for Star wars galaxies ? WHAT are they just (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19020935)

discussing there ? a NON game they screwed up SO bad to the extent that they even alienated the staunchest star wars fan ?

go fuck yourselves off in some remote location please. If you have "reps" from swg "discussing" shit, and if these are sony people, not only your article, but its writers, you, deserve it.

Re:Reps for Star wars galaxies ? WHAT are they jus (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022243)

a NON game they screwed up SO bad to the extent that they even alienated the staunchest star wars fan ? go fuck yourselves off in some remote location please.
In some remote location? You mean like "a Galaxy Far, Far Away..."?

Re:Reps for Star wars galaxies ? WHAT are they jus (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022443)

suits me.

Some suggestions (5, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19020965)

In case any MMORPG developers are reading this, some suggestions:

1. Either make me pay a monthly fee, or make me pay for the client, not both. Charging for both makes it seem like you're not convinced I'll want to keep playing. By all means have a CD distributed in stores at a price that covers costs; it's just the phenomenon of paying $50 for the chance to pay another $10 that doesn't make sense.

2. If you can't make the client free, make it transferable, so I can sell it if I decide I don't want to keep playing. There's no way I'm going to spend $50 on a game I may not even like, if I can't resell it to get back some of the cash.

3. Include Mac and Linux. I don't run Windows and won't run Windows. There are millions of us, and we have very few MMORPG choices right now, so it's an easier niche for you to get into than the more saturated Windows market.

4. Make it possible to play the entire game in cooperative mode. I have zero interest in deathmatches.

5. I prefer SF to fantasy, yet most RPGs are fantasy. I guess it's easier to artificially limit the players and work around plot issues when you have magic around and a lack of fast long distance transport and communication technologies.

6. Don't riddle the game with spyware and have an abusive EULA. Yeah, WoW got away with it, but that's no excuse.

7. Don't require bleeding-edge hardware. My next machine is probably going to be a laptop with Intel graphics.

Generally, the idea I'm presenting is to try and go for the potential players who are not being served at all by the current online gaming market, rather than to compete to steal customers who already have a choice of a half dozen games they could be playing. You know, try to be the Wii rather than the PS3.

Re:Some suggestions (5, Insightful)

idesofmarch (730937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021165)

Sounds to me like you are suggesting they cater to the market of one - you. Maybe you did not mean it that way, but have you read what you wrote? It is all "me me me."

Re:Some suggestions (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021441)

Sounds to me like you are suggesting they cater to the market of one - you. Maybe you did not mean it that way, but have you read what you wrote? It is all "me me me."
I think his suggestions are very good. I'm a Mac user and don't have a bleeding edge computer, and I'd prefer to not have to pay for the client if I'm paying a monthly fee. I'm sure there are many others in the same boat as GP, even if you are not.

Re:Some suggestions (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021915)

Well, I haven't done any extensive market research, so I can't talk with any credibility about why other people aren't playing MMORPGs. I just know that I have broadband, I have all my computers and consoles connected to it, I play video games several times a week, yet I haven't played any online games except Animal Crossing and Clubhouse Games on the DS. I figure there must be other people kept away from MMORPGs for similar reasons to me.

Oh, and I forgot one:

8. Make it so you can play for a couple of hours a week and get somewhere and have fun. It seems like WoW requires way too big of a time investment.

Re:Some suggestions (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022437)

Try Guild Wars. It only costs at the store, no monthly fee, and since it has a hard level cap of 20 ( reachable in 15 hours or so ) you can play it as much or as little as you want and still be on equal footing with friends who might play it everyday for way too many hours..

One of the few good things about WOW (1)

Toby_Tyke (797359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021217)

7. Don't require bleeding-edge hardware. My next machine is probably going to be a laptop with Intel graphics

WOW will run on less than cutting edge hardware. A friend of mine is a WOW player, and while I'm not sure what what the exact spec of his machine is, I do know that it has onboard intel graphics and that he bought it second hand for sixty pounds when another friends workpalce sold them off.

On a slight tangent, I've been saying for a while now that one of the things that could help invigorate the PC games market is if the developers would stop requiring cutting edge hardware. There are millions and millions of PCs out there, and every big game that comes out effectively limits itself to a tiny niche of that market. Take me, I'd love to play Stalker, but I don't have a machine that could run it, so I'm just going to buy a wii game instead.

Re:One of the few good things about WOW (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021589)

yeah ... My friend played WoW on an old Dell with a GeForce 2. Let's just say that's not exactly a ferrari of a machine.

Re:Some suggestions (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021399)

Ditto. My roommate and I are both long-time Eve players. Recently he's been getting into Vanguard and wants me to try it. It looks great, but...oops...it requires vertex / pixel shader 2.0. From my perspective of having a pretty nice video card that handles all my other games (including Oblivion and F.E.A.R.) on high settings without issue, that's a load of crap. And it's $50, even if you buy it online and download it, no physical media involved . So essentially, this is a $200+ game just to try, plus monthly subscription. Give me a fucking break and take a lesson from CCP...the client should be a free download, and the game should be functional on hardware that is still considered pretty damn nice.

Re:Some suggestions (4, Informative)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021905)

1 & 2 - Several MMOs have trials that you can play. Just off the top of my head I know that EQ1 and WoW have free trials, I'm sure there are others. I think I played EVE for some period for free as well.

3 - If there actually were millions of Linux using MMOGers out there, they'd make a client. But there aren't (not trying to troll, just being realistic). Cedega/Wine has several MMOs running as a secondary option.

4 - I don't remember ever playing any form of deathmatch(pvp?) in any MMOG. PvE is the focus of most MMOGs. PvP is usually a side game you can participate in if you choose.

5 - Are you saying that warp drives and ansibles are somehow more realistic than a teleportation spell? There are plenty of Sci-Fi based MMOGs...SWG, AO, EVE, TMO, etc.

6 - I think WoW is the only one to ever actually do it. Are there MMOs with tons of spyware all over?

7 - I've played several MMOs on my crappy laptop with Intel Graphics, including WoW and EQ, among others.

Re:Some suggestions (1)

Mathness (145187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021927)

8. Game cards which can be bought in stores. Not everybody have an option to pay online.

Re:Some suggestions (4, Informative)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022395)

Wow ... you sound exactly like I did 2 years ago before playing WoW :) ...
1. I think it's fairly obvious now that the retail box is to pay for the time and effort of developing the client and the monthly fees are to cover bandwith and server maintenance.
2. Allowing you to sell your account leads to the sale of high level accounts which denies them money for having that same player buy the box new and level on his own.
3. More than a few MMOs these days do have a Mac client. Plus if you're die-hard against Windows Cedega supports quite a number of MMOs as well.
4. I've played a few MMOs and with the exception of Guild Wars none of them focused on PvP ... it was always an option.
5. Yeah there's really not a whole lot they can do about that. Most RPGs in the non-computerized world are fantasy as well. Just the nature of the beast. That said look into Hellgate:London coming soon. :)
6. Spyware? I assume you're referring to the WoW check for hacks? I wouldn't go so far as to call it spyware. Especially when it doesn't talk to Blizzard unless it finds something worth reporting. As for EULA's ... come on man ... what software doesn't have an EULA? Freakin' Linux has an EULA ... less restrictive yes ... but it's there.
7. I played City of Heroes on my notebook with Intel video. WoW is currently playing on a 3-year-old machine. You can't crank the graphical settings but these games don't require "bleeding-edge" hardware.

Hope this helps :)
Kleedrac

Re:Some suggestions (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022847)

1. I think it's fairly obvious now that the retail box is to pay for the time and effort of developing the client and the monthly fees are to cover bandwith and server maintenance.
The fee for the client is mostly to encourage subscriptions, IMO. Once someone has invested $50, they're not likely to subscribe for a month and then drop it, or they'll have wasted $60, not $10. I think the pricing is determined by how to maximize revenue, not how to cover specific costs -- though it's important that subscription revenues are greater than bandwidth/server costs. At any rate, it's the opposite of a dealer giving someone crack for free to get them hooked -- instead they make them pay enough that they're hooked out of a sense of money already invested...

Allowing you to sell your account leads to the sale of high level accounts which denies them money for having that same player buy the box new and level on his own.
I think the parent was talking about selling the license, not a character account. This touches back on my last point -- if you don't pay $50 for the box/license, you're less likely to maintain a subscription. $50 is paltry compared to two years of subscriber fees; the trick is to get them invested in their character(s) enough that they're hooked.

Re:Some suggestions (2, Insightful)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022417)

I'm sorry you got moderated as a troll, because I wholeheartedly agree with you. Particularly, the pay for client and subscription con. I didn't start WoW until the client came down to $20, because I could justify it as the first month's subscription cost.

I also agree on the necessity to design for lower end machines. I think the reason WoW is as popular as it is is mainly a function of how it can run on such a wide range of machines.

Lastly, as much as I hate spyware and invasive anti-cheat programs...what good are they if they don't use them? Why do I still get spammed in-game tells in WoW for real money seller websites? My WoW chat window is fast turning into resembling my yahoo email inbox...

Re:Some suggestions (1)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022675)

Wow you still use yahoo? Crazy. Responding to your last point however, the anti-spyware/anti-cheat modules are designed to stop people from ruining the game, not making an ass of themselves. The spammers, while I hate them probably more than you do as I'm running an addon called WIM which makes whispers appear in their own window, while an annoyance, aren't ruining the game. What the AS/AC modules are for is people who would try to ruin the game by allowing their characters to do things they shouldn't be able to. Try fighting an opponent who seems to move in 30-40 foot "leaps" ... or, in the PvE sense, try beating that guy to the Mithril Vein :) Another thing to keep in mind about the gold spammers is that from the research I've done in game most are level 1 characters attached to trial accounts (one of the many reasons most MMOs don't do free trials over the web :P ) and thusly there's really nothing Blizzard can do to stop them short of stopping the trials alltogether ... which would lead to said gold farmers buying a copy of the game and getting it banned once a week :) My roommate thinks they should ban by IP but as I believe most of these guys are spamming from cyber-cafes I doubt this would be an option.

Hope this helps!
Also please email kleedrac at gmail to get a gmail invite and join the rest of us in the 21st century :D
Kleedrac

No Grinding in LOTR Online? (4, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021031)

From the article:

For instance, LOTRO rewards the repetitive actions often required in online games. In return for slaughtering large numbers of one type of creature players will become more powerful or gain a fancy title to demonstrates their prowess.

In this way, he said, LOTRO hopes to avoid the "grind" that afflicts the middle ranks of those adventuring in WoW.

How does this system eliminate grinding? It seems to me that it would exacerbate the grinding problems as players would grind even more in order to get the additional power and titles conferred by grinding mid-level mobs.

Re:No Grinding in LOTR Online? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021413)

I tried out the LORTO beta and wasn't terribly impressed. Nice pretty graphics don't make up for an almost complete lack of PVP type action. The real draw of WOW is that you can play 'both' sides of the scenario.

Or perhaps better said the real draw is you have the *option* to play either side. They let the game play determine the social aspects of the servers. Non PVP servers allow people who don't want that to enjoy the game story. PVP servers allow people to experience playing against other actual humans rather than just MOB instance runs.

WOW gives you many different facets of the story to explore. Is there grinding? yep, but it's the grinding that makes you earn your value. Do you have to grind? nope, nothing requires you to do that. Yes it has quests that say "Kill 20 of these" but I doubt that is the usual definition of grinding.

Haven't played EVE, but had a co-worker explain the basics. Again, it's the game play that determines the game, not the developers. They simply lay out the environment, how you handle things are your own decisions.

My biggest gripe on LORTO is that they are trying to be true to the story. That's going to be it's biggest downfall in my opinion. When Sauron is defeated (wait...shouldn't that be *if*????) what happens, THEN and only then will LORTO start to explore the areas that WOW and EVE layout as their basis. If they don't have true PVP by then, what exactly would be the point? There's no more story (at least none that's very well known by the general public) so if there's no story to follow, people will bolt pretty quickly.

Maybe I'll come around to LORTO, but I don't see it happening anytime soon. I'm far and away a *very* casual WOW player, by no means hardcore. It's enjoyable and I can explore different aspects of the game.

If I want LORTO, I'll go watch the movie ;-)

Re:No Grinding in LOTR Online? (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021741)

I had the same experience in the beta, to be honest. It was extremely pretty (and the tutorial instances were jaw-dropping), but the gameplay really didn't grab me at all.

They do have an interesting take on PVP though, one that would allow you to literally play the other side-- maxed-level monster characters, that could be improved with points earned by doing things in the contested, max-level region. No starting off as a level one hatchling or any of that stuff-- you're spawn of Shelob (or a particularly rabid warg, or what have you), and you're already a threat to whatever comes into your domain. PCs know that they're in for a fight when they see a named monster (or a whole swarm of them...) out there, because there aren't AI weaknesses to exploit... just the crafty mind of another player. Sure you have to hit level ten with a regular PC, in order to get access to that stuff, but that's a far cry from having to get to level forty (or whatever) as a PC. Hop on, join some other monsters in fighting the bad fight, and log off for dinner. No battleground waiting lists, no grinding-to-gank, no having to worry about having the best gear to survive.

Re:No Grinding in LOTR Online? (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022211)

It's even better than that... it's PvP without risk to you 'main' character in any way. In fact, playing a creep can do nothing but benefit your main (you earn 'destiny points' by doing quests and such on your creep which you can spend on either your creep or your freep). Since you aren't playing with equipment on your creep, you don't even have to pay for equipment wear/tear. So, no loss in any way to your 'main' by participating in PvP and you can actually gain on your 'main'. Sounds like a pretty good system, in theory, we'll see how it pans out.

Re:No Grinding in LOTR Online? (4, Informative)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021693)

It all depends upon your definition of "grinding."


IMO grinding means killing monsters for no reason except experience and money.

"Farming" is killing monsters repeatedly until the item you want drops.

"Kill counts" are the number of monsters you must kill in order to complete a quest. Some consider this grinding, but I do not since it has an end and a purpose.

From what I heard (never played it) EQ required grinding just to reach the next level.

I feel that WoW successfully did away with the senseless grinding. There is absolutely no reason for any character to ever have to grind by my definition. There are always more quests to do at your level; they may not be in your race's zones if you think that linearly, but they do exist. If you're trying to get a certain piece of gear (or getting gear to sell) then you'll be out killing specific mobs for quite some time and gaining money and XP to boot until you get that gear. Still, you have a purpose and there is an end point.

I beta tested and bought LotRO (even though I posted here and elsewhere that I wouldn't: the idea of a pay once and never again fall back game for when I [rarely] don't feel like playing WoW was just too tempting). LotRO reminds me of Ultima IX: Ascension. It's a very linear story with lots of little branches. You are free to go and do whatever you wish, but the main story will not progress until you complete the chapter you're in. I have experienced only one instant where I felt grinding was necessary. I was about to complete a quest that would take me out of the current zone. I knew I hadn't defeated a certain boss, but I could not do it by myself or at my current level. I went and killed a few more monsters to get the last 15% of my level, went and killed that boss and then went to complete the zone quest. (I was rewarded as well since two excellent items dropped off that boss.)

Still if I had looked for a fellowship or just accepted that I didn't finish a quest in that zone, I could have continued on my way without grinding. I have a few RL friends that simply weren't on at that time, so I doubt I'll ever have to grind like that again.

Re:No Grinding in LOTR Online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021951)

I feel that WoW successfully did away with the senseless grinding. There is absolutely no reason for any character to ever have to grind by my definition. There are always more quests to do at your level;

WoW simply invented grind quests. Phenomenally repetitive game.

Re:No Grinding in LOTR Online? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022765)

That statement doesn't make much sense to me because I found with LOTRO that the only way to earn a reasonable amount of XP is to do quests. Although, I will add that approaching level 16 I've had the impression that I seem to be getting a more usable amount of XP from fighting random mobs, compared to early levels where it felt like I was earning nothing.

I can appreciate the emphasis on quests, but the biggest issue I have with that is the absurd amount of traveling required. It gets exhausting having to run a long distance to find some guy who either has just been killed or is too strong for me to take on myself. It's either that or having the aggravation of spending a good half an hour just trying to find some contact.

It's a great looking game. There's a real sense of place. It helps that it's based on lore that's familiar, so all the locations mean something. It also makes the store more compelling. Unfortunately, ultimately it's just another MMO. And as that aspect of the game became more prominent I lost my interest.

Some people are drawn to the game because they prefer the more realistic look to the cartoony style of WoW. LOTRO has some of the most impressive vistas I've seen in almost any game; there's a real sense of scale. But beyond that I sometimes feel there's something missing. I realize the developers need to be faithful to the source material. But I can't get past the nagging feeling that something about the game feels uninspired. And I think it comes down to the realistic look. It's the same reason I didn't like the visuals for DDO or EQ2. It's also why I don't like Oblivion at all even though it can look impressive at times.

Even though World of Warcraft has less sophisticated graphics I much prefer that game visually because it has such a strong, distinct sense of style. Furthermore, I think that game is still easier to pick up and play than LOTRO. WoW has tons of grinding but in the brief time I played I didn't feel like I was being dragged around all over the place like I am in LOTRO. I do much prefer crafting in LOTRO.

So ultimately, my point is that while LOTRO is very good, and in some aspects perhaps superior to WoW, it's not good enough to unseat WoW from it's dominant position.

Talk is cheap. (1)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021103)

Instead of complaining about the lack of a strong competitor to WoW, how about making one?

Try better competitors, to start. (4, Interesting)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021111)

Seriously. Turbine has had one real success-- Asheron's Call. Its sequel bombed spectacularly, D&D Online is basically a Guild Wars with a monthly fee, and while LOTRO is barely out of the gate, its questing and lore structures are as turgid as its source material (which is great if you're a Tolkien fan, granted).

Star Wars Galaxies has gone from 'flawed, but promising' to 'what has science wrought?!' over the course of its existence, a stunning reversal of the usual trend to launch with missing content and patch in later, to launching with missing content and tearing most of what's left out later. Servers are ghost towns, good going there, guys.

Anarchy Online has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster (abysmal beta, spectacularly awful launch, promised lore/television/multimedia tie-ins that failed to materialize... and a free year of basic play offer to bolster subscription numbers), but at least Age of Conan has some interesting gimmicks planned for it.

WoW may be simplistic compared to its predecessors and competitors, but it's been as well-produced as any other Blizzard product-- that is to say, polished to an eye-searing shine. In order to pull the same thing off, their competitors will need to get out of the 'launch first, patch later' mindset, which will absolutely require the trust of the people that fund the projects. Without that element of risk-taking on their part, there's no way that any development team will be able to pull the same thing off. All of that development and polish takes time and effort, which are fueled by money... and the precedent of shipping something that runs, rather than something that shines is still much stronger than WoW's literally phenomenal success.

Polish is the Defining Characteristic for Blizzard (4, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021265)

WoW may be simplistic compared to its predecessors and competitors, but it's been as well-produced as any other Blizzard product-- that is to say, polished to an eye-searing shine.

I've found that to be the case with most Blizzard games. They don't do anything particularly innovative (Real Time Strategy existed before Warcraft, MMORPGs existed before WoW), but the level of polish on a Blizzard game is far above and beyond any other game in the same genre.

Heck, look at Starcraft. That game is still being sold and played, despite approaching 10 years of age. Reason: the game was simple to understand and play, and the races were far more balanced than in any other game of that time. Nothing really new or innovative, but the overall execution was of high quality, ensuring continued success.

Re:Polish is the Defining Characteristic for Blizz (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022427)

Starcraft was the only RTS game that had unique races and still had balance. War3 is light years away from being balanced. It is unlikely we will ever see another balanced RTS as it is it becomes harder and harder to do with every new unit and ability. War3, with its 4 races, was doomed from the offset. There are just too many things in the game now to ever find the balance SC has. The problem compounds even more with technology restrictions as well. SC pretty much had infinite units, which contributed to the ability to find balance. With all the new 3d engines, you cannot push that many polygons on the screen without severe frame lag. War3 instituted the unit cap and upkeep in order to promote the use of less units.

With SC2 likely to be announced this month and hopefully as an RTS, we can only hope for some innovation in the genre to present something new in place of true balance. Blizzard learned their lesson with War3 and are unlikely to include the same shortcomings in SC2. Things like creeps, items, upkeep, resource limitation, and shops will all be re-examined and hopefully excluded from the game. Blizzard knows that the success of SC2 relies on the adoption of the game in Asians markets where it would be played competitively. They learned with War3 that it does not matter if it is from Blizzard or not, they will not support an inferior game when better game are still viable. The aspects of competitive Starcraft were not around in War3, which caused it to not be adopted. Not only did they add great focus to micromanagement, they took away from the macro aspect with upkeep, resource limitation, and low unit counts. SC had a much greater focus on macromanagement which yielded the ability to play the game different from a strategic standpoint.

Ok rant off. To wrap, balance will never be achieved again because companies feel the need to have more and more in games in order to sell them as new and improved, but doing so is at the cost of balance. With every new factor, it becomes exponentially more difficult to balance the game.

Re:Try better competitors, to start. (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021841)

In order to pull the same thing off, their competitors will need to get out of the 'launch first, patch later' mindset, which will absolutely require the trust of the people that fund the projects. Without that element of risk-taking on their part, there's no way that any development team will be able to pull the same thing off. All of that development and polish takes time and effort, which are fueled by money... and the precedent of shipping something that runs, rather than something that shines is still much stronger than WoW's literally phenomenal success.
Exactly! This is where EA screwed up with Ultima Online and Ultima IX: Ascension.

Both of those games had HUGE potential: a well-known story over 10 years old, a large and loyal following of fans and a well-known game development genius in Garriott.

UO developers tried to upgrade the entire game twice, but EA wouldn't hear of it because it would kill the current cash cow (there was no way to transfer UO players' "stuff" to the new versions). Garriott and his team wanted more time to fix and finish U9, but EA wanted it out before Christmas.

When (or If) EA ever learns this lesson, they'll be extremely dangerous. Thankfully, at least one development company that they do not own and cannot afford to buy and way ahead of them and by all counts, on all fronts, will stay there. I think there is plenty of room for healthy competition, and I hope all non-EA development companies strive to provide that competition because in the end it all means more and better games for us.

Re:Try better competitors, to start. (1)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022043)

D&D Online is basically a Guild Wars with a monthly fee

Besides the fact that everything is instanced in both games I fail to see any other point of comparison. Maybe the fact that Guild Wars goes up to level 20 as its cap and DDO will be there eventually, but that would be pushing it.

DDO and GW are by far two different games, I know this. I played DDO for about six months right when it was released and I've been playing GW since last June. DDO is a very stat based, hack and slash, action RPG. Stats play so much into how it was made that if you hadn't built your character exactly so that a specific stat could be increased to 25 by use of items, magic, potions some guilds wouldn't even take you because you couldn't run end game. The end game content(well end game when I was playing, Vault of Night to be specific) was also so reliant on the equipment that you had it was impossible to even finish without having anti-death and armor-penetrating items, both of which were near impossible to find unless you could grind one specific quest line 24/7. GW on the other hand comes down to two things: Your own skill in the game, and the ability to use the 8 skills on your bar effectively. Character builds are not static as they are in DDO(yes, DDO has enhancement to alleviate the static nature of D&D character builds, but when I was playing enhancements didn't really help), and builds can be changed when you wish in any town. DDO is all about power gaming, it's truly a D&D campaign gone wrong with horrible imbalances in its core design. Your PC is either horribly over powered or horribly underpowered. GW, while it has portions that just ask for power gamers such as Hero Battles, is a game that isn't dependent on the items your character has(except the first campaign where you have to get your armor to have a special attribute, but that was easy to do) and the end game can be done by just about anyone as long as you are smart enough to create a viable build that works for your style of play and can play as a team.

All of these games (0)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021125)

Are grindfests, and nothing more. WoW is horribly dumbed down. Almost no penalty for dieing, especially in PVP? Grinding the same dungeons and over to get the best items?
The best items should be made by player crafters, not found in a quest dungeon. There should be a real penalty to dieing, specifically item loss. There shouldn't be a need to grind, you should be able to raise your skills by simply using them, not grinding xp to go up a level.
All these along with TOTAL player freedom are what will make a truly great game.
www.darkfallonline.com is a game that will follow all these principles and much more.

Re:All of these games (1)

idesofmarch (730937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021207)

I hear it is vaporware. What do you know? Any launch dates?

Re:All of these games (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021239)

We all in the community have a fear that it is vaporware, but they are actually showing some tangible results now and will probably have beta within the year. They didn't have the massive dev team WOW did or preexisting lore, it's a group of like a dozen or 2 guys who actually had to raise capital to do this. The best part is they are all former UO and AC players.

Re:All of these games (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021455)

Stop posting Slashvertisments and get back to work. There are already rumblings that your game is vapor.

Re:All of these games (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021527)

Indeed there are rumblings, but as of late even I, who used to be 100% screaming LOLVAPORFALL, am now seeing that it is indeed going somewhere and they truly are presenting tangible things leading up to a beta which should occur quite soon indeed.

Re:All of these games (1)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021551)

People hated Ultima Online. That's why they all picked up and went to EQ.
You want to go back to it?

Re:All of these games (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021661)

People didn't quit UO in droves until Trammel iirc, which added PVP safe zones and other things that took away from the freedom in the game as well as made PVP unbearable.

Re:All of these games (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021909)

Oh please. Trammel was created shortly after EQ was realeased to reduce the userbase hemoraging. PvP started to suck because your supply of sheep found a harrassement-free way to play the game.

Re:All of these games (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021963)

There was nothing keeping the 'sheep' from fighting back and putting the hurt on their harrassers, that was the beauty of the player freedom in UO.

Re:All of these games (0)

4iedBandit (133211) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021677)

WoW is horribly dumbed down. Almost no penalty for dieing,

Yes there is a penalty for dieing. I have to run back to my body, which in some places is a long fscking way away. If I die before a mob dies, I don't get XP for it. In a fare number of quests if I die, the area respawns before I can get back to my body. If I kill the mob I was after, but get killed by adds, sometimes the mob I want despawns before I can get back (meaning I have to wait around and do it all over again.) If I resurrect at the graveyard I have 10 minutes of being an utter weakling. Maybe it's not harsh enough for you. That's fine, the game isn't for you. Go play DDO, I hear the penalty for dieing there is quite a bit harsher.

There shouldn't be a need to grind,

Every RPG ever has grind. You go on quests, typically to kill things/get things to get experience to gain levels to improve your skills to go on more quests.

you should be able to raise your skills by simply using them

Which is, in itself, another form of grind.

Wow is designed to appeal to a broad base of people. The game is well polished, and fun to play. Like almost all Blizzard games. I still play Starcraft from time to time, because it's still fun. And that's why WoW wins. At the end of the day, it's the game that the most people find the most fun.

As a side note I had to laugh when on of my friends berated me for not joining LOTR (despite the fact there is no Mac client, and I'm not running Windows on my home box) and he told me it was completely different. Um, no. You still go on quests to kill stuff, to get stuff, to get better skills, to go on quests, to kill stuff....etc.

And besides, Tauren just look so cute and happy when they're jumping up and down!

Re:All of these games (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021713)

Death penalty in DDO? Why would I want to play a horribly reskinned version of AC2 which is 100% group based and little to no player freedom? Oh, and also happens to be made by Turbine, who's only success was Asheron's Call, which they did their damndest to ruin over the years, culminating in proverbally(sp?) raping harder than ever thought possible with TOD and every update since?

You mean UO? (1)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021757)

All there, old man... Origin had that long before Blizzard even started to read documentation for networking.

Death penalties are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022479)

I don't really get people who want death penalties. Most of the time want something like an XP loss, which really just requires grinding to get back. Hooray for pointless timesinks?

You're different. Item loss, eh? So what happens the first time I lose an uber +20 hammer of smiting because of a server lagspike? The only people who will tolerate that sort of nonsense are in the smallest niche of players.

Re:All of these games (3, Interesting)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022623)

WoW is horribly dumbed down.
I think you mean "simplified interface" so that anyone and everyone who even attempts the game discovers how easy it is to get started and gets hooked within minutes. I've met some handicapped players including one guy who was completely immobilized except for his head. Seeing his joy at playing UO was heart-wrenching. I'm quite certain he is playing WoW and enjoying it even more because it's so much simpler than UO. Whenever someone complains about a game being "dumbed down," I think of him.

Obviously, WoW is so dumb it attracted over 8 million people because it IS easy to play. The most amazing part of WoW, though, is even though it's easy to get started and continue to play in a casual manner, it can get as complicated as you wish and require a great deal of research, modification and time in order to complete the more challenging quests and instances.

Almost no penalty for dieing, especially in PVP?
If there were more penalties, you'd have more people getting frustrated, giving up, logging off and canceling subscriptions. You wouldn't have nearly as large, varied or active the PvP community that does exist. I tried getting my wife involved in UO (pre-pvp consent) twice. Both times PKs ruined her experience and drove her away. I introduced her to WoW while I beta tested it and she's played constantly ever since. One more experience we get to share together.

There are enough penalties for death. You have to pay to repair your equipment, or if you cannot get back to your body (long distance, over active spawn, etc.) then you REALLY pay by rezzing at the graveyard and taking extra damage. Plus it's a penalty of time lost when you should be enjoying yourself instead of running back to your corpse.

Grinding the same dungeons and over to get the best items?
That is the players' choice and the reason Blizzard introduced better items for casual players in Burning Crusade. (Plus that death penalty gets steeper.) Not everyone can commit the time or has the resources to run a raid, but I bet they would if they could.

There shouldn't be a need to grind, you should be able to raise your skills by simply using them, not grinding xp to go up a level.
There is absolutely no need to EVER grind in WoW. (**By "grind" I mean kill a monster for the sole purpose of experience gain.)

At launch there were 2500 quests per faction (Alliance, Horde); with BC I'd suspect it is now more like 5-6,000 per faction. My first character hit 60 within a few months (I'm a casual player who plays multiple characters at once) by only doing quests and running the instances associated with quests. There was never a point where I said "I'll go kill these wolves to gain my next level," it was always "Oh, look, I'll get my next level at my next quest turn in or while killing for that next quest."

Anyone who is "grinding" is ignorant of the available quests and simply doesn't understand how WoW is different from all those MMO's that came before it. For those that are ignorant, all it takes is a tell in the public channels asking "Where should a lvl xx go for quests?" I can reference the Prima strategy guide, wowwiki.com or any number of other resources if I cannot draw upon my own experience. There are so many quests, Blizzard had to up the quest log from 20 to 25 so people wouldn't have to do so much extra running back and forth. There is never any reason for a person's quest log to drop below 5 quests much less be empty.

By your definition of "truly great game," you just described Ultima Online as it existed in 1997-1999, and how the Felucca side of each shard still exists. I think most of us have grown beyond that.

By your complaints and suggestions I gather that you are an experienced gamer and one who participates in PvP. I've heard these same complaints from players over my 10 years of playing MMO's. Trust me, you are in the minority. Blizzard has discovered what works and what works well to appeal to as many players and player types as possible. I personally enjoy almost every aspect of WoW. Are there areas for improvement? Of course. No game is perfect... yet. Hopefully Darkfall Online will appeal to you and those that think like you.

No Mention of EVE Online? (3, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021141)

EVE Online is one of the largest MMORPGs out there. Its also possibly the only successful science fiction based MMO game. Given these two characteristics, combined with the fact that EVE's developer team is much more hands-off with regard to player-to-player interaction, I'm surprised that EVE was nowhere to be found the article.

Re:No Mention of EVE Online? (2, Insightful)

Friedrich Psitalon (777927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021997)

EVE is often ignored in discussions of MMORPGs because it is precisely the antithesis of what is popularly regarded as "smart" in the genre:

- It's not fantasy, but fantasy is the smart move because it is easier to understand and create; everyone knows the "ground rules."

- It's not warm or cuddly. You can be 5 hours in and get (metaphorically speaking) lured into an alley, have your throat slashed, and everything you own taken from you. (Scan-probing pirates in missions, anyone?) That's not smart because it makes people quit.

- The game is utterly, utterly sandbox. The missions are nothing but money generation and have no effect on your character's skills, and very little (positive) effect on equipment/ships.

- Some of the worst social behaviors possible are rewarded: ganging up on people, backstabbing, betrayal, strong preying on the weak, opportunism, and so on.

And yet despite all this, the game continues to thrive precisely BECAUSE it does not pander to the weak. It thrives because genuine accomplishment and reaching the highest levels of the game really does mean something (running major alliances, flying a titan), and not everyone can even come close to doing it. Because EVERYTHING in EVE relies on the player base, the community-binding aspect of the game is tremendously retentive.

In WoW, you can solo, get bored, and leave. In EVE, cooperation is an absolute must to experience more than a quarter of the game's content - and so people will actively solicit you into their groups, if they're smart - and many are.

EVE has a decent number of things wrong - including a grave, grave problem looming with the hideously imbalanced titan-class vessels appearing more and more on the battlefield - but anytime you create a total antithesis to the most popular game, you're going to draw a pretty good "backlash" crowd, and EVE has.

Re:No Mention of EVE Online? (1)

gblfxt (931709) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022283)

no mention because EVE online allows developers to cheat, why would you play a game that you have no chance unless you got dev buddies? : http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=72 886 [eurogamer.net]

Re:No Mention of EVE Online? (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022815)

I was unable to locate any data newer than June 2006, but at that time EVE was 1% like several others while WoW was 52%. I don't consider that "one of the largest."


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

Anyone know of any newer data?

Re:No Mention of EVE Online? (2, Interesting)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022893)

It's because EVE Online is about as exciting as a spreadsheet 90% of the time mining asteroids or doing PvE quests, doing or reciving a one-sided gank 5% of the time, being in a slideshow of a gigantic fleet battle 4% of the time, and being a victem of an in-game exploit (Well, it's only an exploit if YOU do it, when a huge corp does it it's AOK, and you're not allowed to discuss GM decisions in the forums, so any kind of peer review is doomed to be inherantly either fabircated or not taken seriously) the remaining 1% of the time.

So that's....4% fun maybe (if you enjoy ganking and being ganked, which I happen to enjoy both)? The only reason you hear about EVE Online at all is because the big corperations want newbies to lord over, so you hear a lot of 'word of mouth grassroots' exposure making it sound fun and like you do exciting fleet battles every single moment of your time ingame. Don't be fooled, EVE Online is not fun.

Massive players compared to readership? (2, Interesting)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021161)

A massively multiplayer game needs to have numbers of players that are... massive. So dislodging WoW from the lead spot takes a lot more than just a great game, you have to reach those players. If there are 8 million subscribers on WoW then how many more are out there to be reached? The $15 or so per month doesn't sound like a lot to most of us, but that's on top of having broadband available, having a decent computer an having the leisure time to spend on a game. The claim that they're making Conan "for adults" sounds fine on paper but other adults think it's odd that I have the time to commit to World of Warcraft. Finding the millions of adults interested in spending the time and money on an immersive game is a huge challenge. It's a lot harder to do than getting people to read the original stories.

I wonder how the numbers of players they need compares to the readership for the works they're based on.

LOTRO avoides the grind? (1)

Optical Voodoo Man (611836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021163)

From the article:

LOTRO has also learned from the bad experiences seen in other games, he said.

For instance, LOTRO rewards the repetitive actions often required in online games. In return for slaughtering large numbers of one type of creature players will become more powerful or gain a fancy title to demonstrates their prowess.

In this way, he said, LOTRO hopes to avoid the "grind" that afflicts the middle ranks of those adventuring in WoW.

How is that avoiding the grind? I may be mistaken, but repetitively killing the same things over and over again to advance sounds suspiciously like grinding to me. If they had an entertaining system that avoided grinding to advance, then the article might have been worth reading.

Re:LOTRO avoides the grind? (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021433)

He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

Re:LOTRO avoides the grind? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021489)

I don't think it removes the grind, but it does give you some short term goals. It also makes your grinding more strategic, if you want one reward you need to concentrate on killing orcs, but if you want another reward you need to concentrate on killing spiders.

I believe as far as leveling up though, in LOTRO quests are a lot more important than simple grinding. So far the only time I have been really out repetively killing the same thing over and over again is just to make some money.

These companies are not doing their best... (1)

Nerogk (1096421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021317)

...if they are attempting to steal customers from Blizzard. If your game is worth playing over WoW, you will be able to attract a wider audience if there is a free trial period or weekend. Personally, I played the WoW 'beta weekend' before the launch and only bought the game (read: sold my soul) this past January when I finally decided it might be worth it to spend some cash every month to play a game. I play slowly and at my leisure (I am only level 45) but am already looking at LoTRO. Only one problem -> I am not going to spend $50 just to try it out. And I'm not even a hardcore WoW fan. If they can't win me without a free trial/weekend, how do they expect to snag the level 70s that have been playing for much longer? Most of all I am looking forward to Age of Conan. The gameplay videos and general concept look promising even if I do prefer fantasy races to built men.

Re:These companies are not doing their best... (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021671)

LOTRO had a free open Beta for about a month.

Each LOTRO client comes with a "buddy key" or something to the effect that allows you to give a free trial to someone else, so it probably would not be too much trouble to obtain a free trial.

Re:These companies are not doing their best... (1)

Nerogk (1096421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021825)

The buddy key system is useless as my friends play WoW, not LoTRO. Also, there is only ONE key per retail box. WoW let you give out a few. I just don't understand why companies trying to outdo WoW don't go at least as far as WoW. LoTRO doesn't even try to give competitive pricing! (only to beta testers and even that has restrictions)

Re:These companies are not doing their best... (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021993)

I think a lot of it comes from the fact that most people who were interested in LOTRO participated in the free beta, and that just recently ended. They will probably offer free trials later on, but for now the people that were really interested in trying it for free took advantage of the opportunity. I am a very casual game player, and I heard about the free beta several times here on slashdot.

I do think it sucks you have to pay for the client and pay a monthly fee. The client should at least include 3 months of free play instead of just one.

Re:These companies are not doing their best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021919)

If you know someone who has already purchased LOTRO they do include a free 10 day trial for a friend in the box. The game comes on two DVDs so I'd imagine they don't want their bandwidth to go to downloading the client just yet.

The success of WoW (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021387)

It's quite easy to explain why WoW succeeded where others have failed.

First and foremost, they had an already existing background world. That started it off well. Warcraft has a LONG and quite well known world. Not with movie goers, not with bookworms, but with computer players. That sets it apart from SWG and LOTR. Yes, both have a large fanbase, but those aren't necessarily gamers. WoW had a gamer fanbase from the start.

Second, it's easy. Sorry, dear WoW players, but that game is easy. Easy. Easy. I know a five year old who's leveled to 60 without any real difficulty. But that actually meant that it was one of the first MMORPGs that drew the attention of people who're not hardcore number crunchers and grinders, who don't first of all consult a billion pages about the game to find out whether spell X or spell Y is in situation Z more appropriate.

It was basically the mix of having a good player base at its start and being easy enough that people who got invited by those who knew its name (i.e. the "old" Warcraft players) didn't get bored with the detail work.

Re:The success of WoW (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021887)

Warcraft was realtime strategy, WoW is not.
RTS fans do not always like (F|T)PS games. So fan base doesn't really count for that much.

Re:The success of WoW (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022337)

Yes, leveling to 60 was easy. Hell, leveling to 70 is easy.

But... that's not really where the real game is at. It's almost like the entire process of leveling up is merely a training session for you to get to know your character so that you can move on to something actually difficult. It allows you to acquire a very close understand of your character and how your skills and abilities work together.

The real challenge is the so called "endgame" content. Yes, there's plenty of people who will also trash this content as well, but for me, this is where the fun begins. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a guild that can take on the raid instances and also maintain a fun attitude about it. However, we you do finally get into a guild that raids and simply has fun raiding, the game is very challenging. The challenge doesn't come so much from the game, but from learning to cooperate and improvise with your guildmates to beat something you could not possibly hope to do on your own. Every boss has a key strategy, and the fun is in executing that strategy as a group.

"[...] there's more to it than WoW." (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021427)

Like other MMOs! Seriously, I'm really starting to think that Warcraft's popularity was the final nail in PC gaming's coffin. It was already becoming rare to see anything truly great released, and now even more-so that MMOs are at the top of everyone's list of "regurgitated crap to release". At least Age of Conan sounds to add some *cough* new *cough* features and will be set in a universe one could care about. But even at that, I have a hard time seeing how people can justify regularly PAYING to play a game unless they are indeed playing it near non-stop. A habit I have unfortunately witnessed up close and found to be quite annoying. I'm just glad that Quake II actually took some skill, otherwise I might feel as if I had been wasting my time on constant deathmatch back in the day...

Re:"[...] there's more to it than WoW." (1)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022065)

...I have a hard time seeing how people can justify regularly PAYING to play a game unless they are indeed playing it near non-stop. A habit I have unfortunately witnessed up close and found to be quite annoying. I'm just glad that Quake II actually took some skill, otherwise I might feel as if I had been wasting my time on constant deathmatch back in the day...
I justify it like this: even paying on a month-by-month basis (the most expensive option), WoW costs me the price of about two movie tickets, about five cups of coffee, or one halfway decent steak. In exchange for that, I get to play in a large cartoony world with lots of good friends without having to compete every second. I can quest if I want to or screw around exploring if I want to. There is no requirement to be 1337. And, to be honest, I think it's precisely for this reason that WoW is so popular. I've been playing games since they came on cassette tapes and I've spent a hell of a lot of time playing FPS games like Quake and Enemy Territory. So, from one guy who's been at the top of FPS game rankings to another: stop assuming that just because you don't like MMO's, they don't take skill. Sure, WoW isn't a twitch game, but it is a deeply immersive game that's just plain entertaining if you can manage to relax a bit.

Also, Warcraft is hardly "the final nail in PC gaming's coffin" you suggest. WoW has a lot of people gaming who weren't gamers before. It's somewhat like the Wii in that respect, which is incidentally another system that "hardcore" gamers are bitching about. In my experience, a lot of the folks who are getting into gaming this way tend to be someone older (thirties and onward). Personally, I can't think of a better way to turn a household into a gaming household than to have one or both parents enjoy gaming themselves. So, I think WoW and its ilk will in fact bolster gaming, PC and otherwise, as we finally get multiple gamer generations. Finally, it has always been rare to see anything truly great released, so it's hardly fair to blame this on MMOs. There has always been some innovative game that comes along and then has the crap copied out of it. Arguably, Company of Heroes is an incredibly well-done and massively tweaked rip-off of Dune, but damn I've enjoyed it! And there are some awesome games on the horizon, so I'm not giving up my PC gaming rig just yet.

cheers.

What is SWG doing there? (1)

Jare (790431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021437)

Some marketing drone must have earned his money, to make someone believe that SWG is significant, growing, or a "future competitor". The only game SWG is trying to defeat is SWG itself. I don't really believe there's currently any game (announced or released) that has a remote chance to dethrone WoW, but to say that SWG is a contender is ludicrous.

End of this year (1)

wilsonthecat (1043880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021689)

We have plenty of potential "WoW killers" due for release at the end of this year: Team Fortress 2, Crysis, Warhammer Online, Unreal Tournament 2007. They may not steal all of the player base (the hardcore people who play relentlessly for minor equipment upgrades), but I would bet a few dollars to say these games will make a serious dent on the population of WoW. That is unless Blizzard are crafty and manage to get another expansion out by then, which is doubtful.

Although the upcoming patch for World of Warcraft is pretty much offering more of the same and has been 5 months in the making, and WoW players seem to be particularly apathetic about what Blizzard provide them with in the way of content - Blizzard say they prefer fixing bugs rather than producing more content - seems to keep the majority of the wow addicts happy.

http://www.eurogamer.net/releases.php?platform=pc [eurogamer.net]

Shows all the PC games

Re:End of this year (1)

Zuato (1024033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021943)

The upcoming patch is bug fixes and new content...quite a bit of new content, actually. This is one of the things that Blizzard does that keeps WoW players coming back, err, addicted. They add new content for free periodically. It may not be the greatest game ever made, but it is accessible, is based on previous computer games and their lore, and runs on most computers. Yes, it helps to have a high end machine, just like any other computer game, but you can run it on machines that are older. As for FPS games, they won't steal many WoW players. I used to be hard core Quake, Quake 2/3, and UT until Diablo II came out. That pretty much killed my desire to play FPS games. Why? There was the feeling of progression (even though the game was very easy to beat). Same thing in WoW. Those marginal gear upgrades and new quests/storylines are what keeps people coming back.

An interesting thing to note about WoW's success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021735)

I think one of the reasons WoW is so successful is full support for OS X, there are basically no games for OS X, so WoW just soaks up anybody who might want to play a more time consuming game that also is on a mac. Even at only 1 in 16 players being on a mac that's still about 500,000 subscribers. Personally I use a mac for all my general computer needs and then play on consoles, but WoW hooked me for two years (mainly since nothing worth playing in the console world), if there was another fun MMO I would have played that instead.

Re:An interesting thing to note about WoW's succes (1)

wtfbbq (1097721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022491)

I think that reason would rank VERY low on the list. Not many people game with a mac and the customer base they are largely gaining (college students that think macs are special/unique/fashion statement) are usually too busy screaming about how great their macs are and would rather be dead then appear as a nerdy MMORPGer. However they still feel fine playing NES and ranting about how every game since has sucked, and that the Beatles were the best bang every and how all music since has sucked. Or maybe that was just my personal experience for the last 4 years... Reasons I feel WoW has succeeded: -older MMORPGer players were getting bored with the generic grind style game that had little content. -simple game play on the surface for younger players -complex setups when fully leveled determining what skills/gear to have for nit-pickers (the ones who "NEED" an extra .25%) -plethora of quests that weren't just: go here, kill 10 things, come back (sure it had many, but it also had others) -two well defined sides with well defined classes (not too few, not too many) -attractive graphic/art design -Simple PvP design -large and hard instances (although it originally didn't come with these) -warcraft legacy (although I don't think that is the main reason for success, if it was SWG would be the biggest) -it is the biggest and the most well known, it became like a snowball rolling down a hill, just kept growing bigger and at a faster rate The next successful MMORPG will occur when players have gotten udderly bored with WoW and another game comes out that bring out something that seems new or genuinely is new.

How to Beat WoW at its own game... (3, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021745)

...don't.

You need only look so far as Diablo and Diablo 2 to realize that when it comes to addicting grindfests, Blizzard is king. Attempting to take Blizzard down on their home turf is a ridiculous goal, and one that should be abandoned by any MMORPG hopeful.

I can't say I pay attention to subscription numbers, but to my knowledge the most successful MMORPG outside of WoW is EVE. EVE also happens to be fundamentally different from WoW.

The problem with these companies is that they're trying to make "WoWLotR" or "WoWConan". They see WoW as a formula they can copy and make money from. What they fail to realize is that the "GTA Clone" strategy doesn't work with MMORPGS. Even if you were able to make a game as good as WoW was when it launched you're still 2 and a half years behind on new content updates, balance tweaks and cosmetic upgrades. Even if you can make the game as good as WoW is now, you still don't have the 8 million strong playerbase. Your game literally needs to be significantly better than WoW straight out of launch.

No, you can't beat WoW at its own game. You can wait for it to eventually fade and then stab it when its weak, but that's a long ways off yet. If you want a successful MMORPG, it needs to be different from WoW. It needs to do the things people wanted from WoW but didn't get. I doesn't even have to be in a fantasy setting. I know I'd enjoy a Dynasty Warriors MMORPG, were it done right (we probably don't have the technology to make that as awesome as it could be, sadly).

In summary, trying to beat WoW at what WoW does best (it's own game) right now is like trying to beat an olympic athlete in a marathon when they have an 8 mile head start.

Re:How to Beat WoW at its own game... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022343)

Good points - and I'd like to expand on one of them. If you make a game like WoW, you're guaranteed that you won't be as successful as WoW, because every last WoW player who has at least one character that is level 60+ won't be interested to starting from scratch in a game that is similar to the one he/she is currently playing.

You want to beat WoW in terms of player base? Make a better game that fixes its most glaring problems (PvP being one of them, easy mode another, no player content another). That's the only way you're going to succeed. I've got to admit, Blizzard stumbled on a gold mine here: they managed to not only craft a successful game, but also to lock out any competitors from stealing their player base with a similar game.

Step 1: better artwork, not better graphics (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021857)

I see these games, with their bump-mapping, realistic shadows and high-poly models. One or two screenshots is all I need to know that I don't want to play them. Game designers need to realize that graphics are more about art than technology. I don't care how realistic the shadows are, if I'm forced to walk around in some drab, grey world, carrying generic swords taken out of some cheap Maya Model Pack.

The quality and imagination of the artwork in World of Warcraft is one of the main, and often-overlooked, reasons for its success.

Conan is for adults - no kids - no, wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021975)

"[Conan is] for adults," he said. "We did not want to be a teen-rated game, we wanted to have the possibility of making a game that takes the licence seriously."

Translation: It will have gore and nudity.

"Players want to be more active in combat and know that their skill as a player matters," said Mr Godoger. "There's no auto combat, you have to do all the running and attacking as you sit there."

Translation: Better have the twitch reflexes of a 14-year-old (who will be here for the gore and nudity).

MMORPGs aren't just games... (2, Insightful)

bigwave111 (1046082) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022005)

WoW, aside from being a well polished, easily accessible game has more going for it than fun gameplay. WoW has become a social community, many of whom spend time talking on Vent, many of whom are college roommates or friends who all play together and actually keep in touch, not only through facebook or myspace, but through WoW. WoW is a social game and to say that other games are going to pull away users...well I just don't see it happening.

Play LOTRO (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022635)

You can't move for the WoW refugees who are sick of the endless raid. But I think it says a lot you name facebook and myspace. Like it or not, WoW is the 12yr olds MMORPG, and that loses its appeal if your not 12 anymore.

Nuke the grind (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022213)

The grind is the worst part of the MMORPG experience. The existence of the grind is understandable: there's only so much material that the designers can create so the grind is a way to extending gameplay. But it's just not fun.

The only game I can speak of from experience is EVE Online. They solved one half of the grind problem by using training rather than leveling. You train skills in realtime. Even if you don't have time to play the game for a week, the skills are still training in the background. So someone with a job and a college student who have been playing for three months will both have comprable skill levels but the college student will have more cash.

The second half of the problem is cash. In EVE, losses hurt. Lower level ships may only cost a few million but better ships can easily cost hundreds of millions, plus all of the equipment you put on it. This can represent the profit of weeks of playtime going up in smoke when a battle goes poorly. You don't respawn, you don't pay a nominal fee to "repair" the ship, it's gone. What makes this so irksome is that profesions in EVE boil down to grinding. You can mine roids, you can hunt NPC pirates in asteroid belts, you can run missions, but it all becomes a tedious chore after a while. For most veterans, the fun stuff is pvp. The downside is that you have to grind to make good those losses. Proponents of the "serious loss" style in EVE say it helps deter immature gamers from ever joining up but that claim has been disproven many times. The other bonus is the adrenaline rush you get when you're putting it on the line with an expensive ship. The pulse-racing experience cannot be replicated in a traditional game where you can just reload when something goes wrong.

It's tough to strike the balance with these sorts of games. You can spent 10 minutes or 10 hours playing Counterstrike and it's non-stop run and gun but you aren't building towards anything bigger. The RPG's require a lot more time with the idea that you're building towards something but you end up suffering from play mechanics that have ceased to be fun, thus a grind. What's more, games seem to go through severe creative lurches. You see a flurry of development before launch and then the effort tapers off, new features coming along once in a blue moon. Players can't really debate the decisions made before a game goes public but everyone has an opinion once they're in the game; fixing one problem gores somebody else's ox.

The best idea I can come up with for a game that makes death count but doesn't add grind would be one that gives a player a certain number of respawns per day. You can earn cash by playing. You die, you lose a respawn. You can buy spare spawns with your cash but it's expensive. For the casual player, they'll be using the free respawns. The more hardcore player will be earning the cash to pay for spare spawns. This can give provide the adrenaline jolt "serious loss" gamers are looking for without necessitating a huge grind for casual players.

Well ask someone who played them all (3, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022217)

The oldest first, Star Wars Galaxies. Yes its launch was bugged, yes bugs took for ever to fix and yes SOE changed the nature of the game, in my opinion ruining it, with the CU and the NGE. Yet it remains one of the most ambitious titles. Player controlled economy with all equipment obtained through crafting NOT looting, yes this could mean that a new player who wasn't socially capable enough to find existing players, had a hard time getting the money to buy the equipment. I personally have helped plenty of newbies to get their decent starter kit. SWG had a nice community. It also remains alone in allowing you to combine classes as you saw fit. Sure, this did lead to some people trying to spec out uber combat classes and to wich SOE made the fatal mistake of them upping the high level content to those specced out players. Yes the doc-buff was the death of grouping BUT it tried.

A typical SWG quest, oh wait, nobody bothered with them because although some had nice writing the XP and loot sucked and so why bother, RPG for the story? Not in MMO land mate.

Everquest 2 too tried. FULL SPEECH! Read that again and realize that in 2007 NOT ONE SINGLE MMORPG EXCEPT EVERQUEST 2 HAS SPOKEN TEXT FOR ITS QUEST GIVERS. 2000 called, they want their text bubbles back. It also tried a new crafting system and upped the stakes in the graphics department. It didn't work. EQ2 is a nice enough game but it is also evercamp squared. A typical EQ2 quest goes like this. Kill 20 X, turn in, Kill 20 X, turn in, Kill 20 X, turn in, Kill 20 X, turn in, Kill rare spawn that only spawn on days with no y.

And then SOE changed the game again, the running animation now looks like an old fashioned slapstick and the death penalty was made so light it barely matters.

Next, there is WoW. A little known MMORPG that is managing to hang on somehow. Blizzard is to MMORPG's what Microsoft is to desktops. It does nothing new, it copied everything it does from everyone else and still it absolutly dominates. Does it have less bugs? No, read the forums, did it have an untroubled launch? Like hell, does it have excellent customer service? Still read the forums.

Its gameplay is a throwback to the orignal everquest with absolutly nothing new added. And yet. Something is right. (something is also wrong, but I am coming to that).

EVERY single SOE game has an engine that is claimed to be future-proof wich is why your computer right now will choke on it. Apparently nobody at SOE realized that a future proof engine is of no use unless the game itself has a future.

The WoW engine is NOT futureproof. Blizzard used an engine that computers of that day could run. Its relativly low power is hidden masterfully by their choice of art direction (hint to SOE, you need some) and it works. To a point. I am not alone in simply NOT like the graphics after prolonged exposure. It is worthy to note that of all the major MMORPG's in the west WoW is closest to the korean ones in the lack of being able to customize your avatars basic looks. Well I say avatar, WoW players tend to think of it as toons.

WoW is Everquest Lite done decently. It says a lot about the MMORPG market that this is high praise indeed. What turns people off sooner or later is that WoW copied everything from everquest including evergrind and evercamp. These things I could have done without.

A typical WoW quest goes like this. Loot item from X by killing it. Oops that one didn't have it, kill another, and another and another and another (repeat for several hours).

Next, another SOE title. Ambitous, certainly, trying new things, absolutly. Bugged, oh hell yes. I am talking offcourse about no other game then Vanguard.

More races then any other game and although a cynic might claim most are just color variations, they do have different starting areas/stories. More classes as well. An extra gameplay option in the form of diplomacy. A future proof engine (hint looks great, won't run) and lots of potential. And bugs. Lots of bugs. Basic stupid bugs that should have been squased in the alpha.

Oh and another sad comment on MMO's, this is the one and only MMO to have women who run using their hips. If nothing else, Vanguard will go down in history as the first MMO ever to have a good walking animation for the females.

Typical Vanguard quest goes like this... BUG

And then there is Lord of the Rings Online.

No bugs so far.... A slighly more mature crowd then you find in WoW. At least 13! Varied and intresting quest, you can spend hours questing in the Shire and NOT be asked to kill a single thing. If you are asked to collect X from an enemy they ALL drop that item and X so far has not gone double digit. No not ALL of them are perfect, I was asked to kill 20 angry bears and they are rare indeed, I think it is an overlook as it is the only one in several days play that even goes that high.

The engine, well it is a tad futureproof BUT even my by now old machine can run it decently enough even at times with high res textures and god it looks nice then. NOT as nice as vanguard, vanguard animation especially beats it easily BUT you will have more frames per second and no areas like Vanguards large buildings that choke your system.

Crafting is the usual copout and not to different from WoW, the difference is that you have to select a pre-fixed combo of proffesions.

But where it shines is the quests. The shire is easily the best here. Delivering mail, picking up spoiled pies, taking a lynx for a walk.

And did I mention no bugs? Oh no doubt there are some skills or weapons wich don't quite do what they say but mostly the game just fucking works.

Is it a WoW beater? For me, yes, but then I got tired of WoW long ago. Its evercamp and evergrind and its audience of 12yr olds just don't appeal to me. LOTRO so far doesn't have that.

So wich game do I recommend? 12 yr olds, go WoW dude. Everyone else, LOTRO might just be the first MMO that has story telling worthy of an RPG. A simple one, on rails but story telling!

You have to see the shire to believe it. Words can't describe what an amazing job they did bringing that area to life.

Re:Well ask someone who played them all (4, Funny)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022487)

Oh and another sad comment on MMO's, this is the one and only MMO to have women who run using their hips. If nothing else, Vanguard will go down in history as the first MMO ever to have a good walking animation for the females.

Haven't seen Vanguard, but have you seen Guild Wars? The females in GW are very well-proportioned and well-animated. GW may have the highest 'pixellated boobie rating' of any MMOG out there, with excellent and attractive character designs.

This is important if, like me, you choose your character build based on what kind of backside you want to watch running across the landscape for hours on end.

Amen brother (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022797)

I have the same basis for choosing my character, IF I am going to spend ages looking at it, it better have a nice ass.

Yes I have played Guild Wars and yes it does look nice. If I remember right it even has boob animator for the female hunter. NICE!

Sadly it the basic gameplay just never grew on me. The constant need to juggle your spells/skills around based on the area you were going into just got tiring.

Conference vs Listening..the great debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022375)

Been a long time running in the MMORPG market and each one is practically a study on the how and the how not's of putting one together. My only real problem is a market that says 'we are listening to you' but then seem to go the other way or generally just ignore you.

The reason WOW is on top is beyond the pretty pictures and the raids and the new content....it is because they have an active and reasonable set of devs and techs who address issues that really really do not make the game fun.

It is pretty simple...would you pay to be exploited by a mind numbing bug and not see it fixed or, worse yet, get the patented EQ 'working as intended'? Of course not! The reason why WoW is getting and keeping the numbers is the very reason why SWG, EQ, and the like are not keeping their base.

Take the examples I mentioned:

EQ - They had a huge base at one time. Plenty of regulars jumping in and attracting still at a trickle...but WoW loomed and EQ was avoiding facing the writing on the wall and trying to update their code. Yea, it could have been a major overhaul but instead they wanted you go out and purchase new software and new pricing for EQ2 (mistake). Now add that in to a customer service that from the beginning was a HUGE problem. Don't try to softsoap it, they knew it sucked and they told you to like it or lump it. Sure, there were customer based problems that could not be solved but the standard 'working as intended' response wore thing wayyyy too early. Also, flipping out most of your bug team to developing your new project was a no-no.

Lessons learned:
-Customers smell bullshit even over the internet...don't try to gladhand us and then think you are sly by nerfing things and not telling people. They WILL and DO know and will be very vocal about it.

-Keep your CS up to date and fresh. Do not default to India, get people wanting to make a difference in the game and reward them for reporting bugs. Also, get a leader people can respect in CS. God knows Abashi became a joke amongst others for his thin skin on certain areas (if you got one like that, don't let him post)

-Update your code. Don't make your base have to buy new shit when the old shit was working but you decided to 'force' your base to go over to a new system because you shifted 90% of your old devs into the new project.

SWG: Christ, what a clusterfuck of idiocy. How can a patented and almost guaranteed 'seller' lose? Putting a project out too early for one. Don't even try to deny that SWG needed at least another year of dev before it came out. I was in beta and the boards practically screamed it daily...but they folded and released a buggy mess. Then of course there was no actual 'Star Wars' in SWG till the expansion, which seriously pissed off those rocket jockeys who wanted their own starship. Add to that the great 'Jedi' hunt...the pinnacle of a storyline that people aspire too and you have to do a bunch of professions to turn it on (BTW, saying you can become a Jedi on the box and not enabling the actual ability to do so for a year is not what I call 'good marketing'). Don't even get me started on the infamous action overhaul .

Lessons learned:
-Don't throw a game out there when your beta group is telling you not too in droves. Sure, a few niggling details is fine but that mess that SWG was broken and we knew it.

-Don't half ass your base with promises of new stuff that should have been there in the first place.

-MAKE YOUR EXPANSIONS WORTHWHILE. See the above reason. No one wants to shell out 29.99 for stuff that should have been there or is so small, its not worth the price.

-Don't overhaul a system and fuck over your loyal base when there is no real reason. Like it or not, you folded trying to make SWG 'noob friendly', gutting a base of people whose very reasons for sticking with you was because it was tougher and hoping to capture some of that WoW loving. A happy medium would have been to introducing in easier ways to play for the noobs...not killing what was actually working. The term 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' is apt....but on your scale I would say it would be annihilating said baby in bathtub with the Death Star.

-Marketing is fine...but don't promise stuff you cannot deliver and then don't cheapen it with bad foreplay. Your box said you could be a Jedi and everyone and their dog wanted to be one. A majority of us were looking for Jedi Trials, epic questing on a scale not seen, real 'wrath of god' stuff. What is given to us is a Force cube telling me, "You have to dance for 24 hours". My eyes could not have rolled further back in my head. And don't tell me it's there when it is clearly not and then sit on it for a year going 'no one has discovered they way of the Jedi' but then not adding 'because we have not turned it on'.

There are a lot of studies out there but you can settle on more than a few commandments of what needs to be done:

-Make your game accessible to the casual and the hardcore from the beginning...or take a stand and go for one set with gusto.
-Content, content, content. More quests, more lands, more fun. Beginning quests to epic level raids, more is better and if you put more at the beginning, people will reroll characters to try em.
-World changing content....expansions aside, the one thing I think a lot of us would like to have more of is struggles for places that benefit the race, creed, what have you. Lose that noobie area because your enemy took the city? Great! Let's get it back. Grow some balls and be ruthless...but make sure the players can fix it (or make it fall apart again)
-Customer service reps need to be experts in managing bugs as well as your devs are in writing code. Address the issues, timetable things and here is a novel thought, let the public know you are working on them. Be as detailed as you like or simply say "its broken, we know it and you know it, so any help or suggestions is fine". Truth with your customers goes a long way and is refreshing than whitewash or lies.
-Don't do projects on a bloated market. Give us a true reason to try something new...make it new. Hack and slash has been done to death, give us sci-fi, horror, historical, etc. Work to push new ideas. Where is the great 'zombie' MMO? The alternate history MMO? Research and don't be afraid to try something new
-QUALITY. Delay your MMO if its not up to snuff....NEVER CAVE to dates. Just don't go over the top Duke Nukem please.
   

FunCom doesn't have the formula (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022425)

FunCom and Blizzard come from different planets as far as culture and ethos, and IMHO its why FunCom will always be a second rate game company. (The industry will probably never forget the absolute disaster that was the AO rollout. I was personally one of the thousands in line waiting for a full refund for that atrocity). Unlike Blizzard, FunCom sticks to release schedules and predefined featuresets (among many other problems) which will always result in buggy gameplay and cut corners.

What we have now in the industry is a few players who were successful *primarily because they were early to the scene* (FunCom being one. I personally hope Mythic isn't another, but they may be). These players really don't necessarily have the caliber to maintain their position and IMHO will vanish over time.

So when FunCom says "The industry so needs competition to WoW" its very true. Except that FunCom isn't really in the running. The bar of quality and depth has been raised significantly by WoW, and the result is a black-hole which sucks players away from the competition. ArenaNet is still looking strong, and other contenders like LOTRO and DDO are looking good, but FunCom? No.

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