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Bethesda To Have An MMO-Dev Sibling

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the cue-the-music dept.

Role Playing (Games) 76

Gamasutra is reporting the exciting news that Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax has just announced they are opening a new studio dedicated to online games. It's going to be headed by Matt Firor, formerly of Mythic Entertainment. "Firor worked for Mythic for 10 years, serving as the producer for the company's popular MMO Dark Age of Camelot, as well as taking a lead role on all of the studio's other projects. Since leaving Mythic in 2006, Firor has worked as a consultant in the online gaming industry, advising publishers interested in entering the online market ... The studio is expected to continue to take on staff over the next 18 months in order to establish 'an entire MMO-sized team,' according to Firor. Specifics on planned subject and platform for ZeniMax's MMO have not yet been revealed." Fallout's MMOG rights are still firmly held by Activision so ... Elder Scrolls Online, perhaps?

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76 comments

How Many? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20078259)

>>Elder Scrolls Online, perhaps

How many MMORPG's with a sword and sorcery theme can the market bear?

Re:How Many? (1)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078363)

One that makes it, and an endless amount of imitators that will never make it. Unless of course they actually do something completely original, but the odds of that happening is fairy small... the phrase MMORPG itself is almost synonymous to World of Warcraft these days. If they say they are making an MMORPG, then they are most likley making a WoW-clone.

Re:How Many? (1)

Sarutobi (1135167) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078417)

Most likely, yes, it will be a clone. I don't know though... it is still bethesda. Even if they did make a WoW clone, I'm sure it would be of high enough quality that it would be fun nonetheless. On the other hand, they might just surprise us. Wait and see :-)

Re:How Many? (2, Interesting)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078511)

Ah well that is my general plan yes, I tend to wait and see. Still, the trends are not encouraging, and even good studios make bad moves. These days everyone and their mailman has a plan for an MMO of some type, so... I can't say I am overwhelmed with the news. Now if a Fallout MMO was actually coming out any time soon I would be more enthusiastic, even though my pessimistic streak says that will probably be screwed up as well. Simply put the game industry in general has too much imitation these days and not enough innovation. I keep feeling like I am playing the same game again.

Re:How Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20079453)

That kinda assumes that bethesda can put out a stable product. MMO client crashes would pretty much kill party-oriented play.

Re:How Many? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#20081365)

Well, I really don't see them making a WoW clone. I would expect them to make more of an online version of Morrowind and Oblivion. Since that would be awesome and it's more or less what I'd expect from them, I really hope I'm not unpleasantly surprised.

Re:How Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20078481)

One that makes it, and an endless amount of imitators that will never make it

You've just described every product ever made.

Re:How Many? (1)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078573)

Yes, well, in every product ever made the one that makes it costs $XX and the imitators cost $X, giving the imitators a clear price advantage and let's them compete in a different market segment. When it comes to MMO's the one that makes it cost $15 a month, and the imitators cost the same... since they do not compete in price it all comes down to the particular flavour one enjoys, and as such the differences is more like... a red Volvo or a green Volvo. It's still the same game, just dressed up differently.

Re:How Many? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078391)

>>How many MMORPG's with a sword and sorcery theme can the market bear?

Are their any good MMORPG's that are not so dreary/medieval, but not as cartoonish WoW. I don't mind sword and sorcery, but I would like to see something other than medieval peasants and medieval architecture covering the landscape. How about scantiliy clad amazons, crystal palaces floating on clouds, etc...

Re:How Many? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079109)

And while they're at it, Just for a change of pace, get rid of the D20 bullsh*t. Make rock-paper-scissors style combat if they can't think of anything more inventive.

IMO, the rand() is a crutch to simulate depth of experience where there is none. If used at all, it should be used in the decision process of the NPCs. Actual combat, or anything else, should be completely deterministic: if you choose great swinging slash and the computer chooses stab&parry, you should get stabbed.

Yeah, it's probably a lot harder to code a deterministic universe that's not just a simple stat comparison, but is it really likely that the thing that succeeds WoW will do it by imitating WoW's imitation of Everquest? I think they've taken incremental improvement as far as it can go and still achieve dramatic results.

Re:How Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20079147)

You think there's a lack of scantily clad warrior women in online gaming? Say, have you ever tried.. any online RPG that has female humanoid avatars?

Re:How Many? (1)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20084311)

Ill start off and say i have played MMOs since 1998 when eq1 came out.. In 2000 i had a dev house that made a MMORPG up to playable alpha 2 then we got shelved (go to the internet archive and look up age of darkness mmorpg). I have to say i played em all. I hate WOW it is the worst game ever... I just cant stand it.. Its lets take all the good parts of a mmo and then lets watter them down till there is no challenge or fun. lets mix it with crappy graphics an appeal to 12 year olds.

eq2 was nice but not what i expected.
vanguard was a flop.

But if your looking for a good mmo at this time i have to say
Lord of the rings online
It is fairly decent. It has its downfalls but its a darn good game. The play is nice the graphics rock and i personally love the Tolken world and Lore.

But even if you dont its still a darn good game to play.

If anyone wants a trial you can find a subscriber and they can giev you a 10 day. i have only 3 invites left.

Re:How Many? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#20084759)

Lord of the Rings Online is actually the game I'm playing now, and I like it. It does have a good hook being set in the Tolkien universe.

It looks like Conan and Warhammer will be coming out sometime, and I wonder how these and LOTRO will cannibalize each other. Warhammer does look like it will have interesting PvP though. But they are all seem to have a medieval European-type setting.

Re:How Many? (1)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20085093)

Warhammer will appeal to the wow PVP players. Conan is it just me but even hearing the word conan makes me cringe. cheese fabioisk barbarians :P..

Does not sound like much fun.

I really wish there would be a warhammer 40k one..

I do hear White Wolf signed with a dev house to create a World Of Darkness MMORPG.
Thats right Vampires, Werewolves, Wraiths and more.
I will definately give that a shot.. Hopefully it will be a decent game.

Re:How Many? (4, Insightful)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078451)

They said the same thing a few years ago when MMORPGs starting making waves. Then World of Warcraft happened.

That being said, I would drop cash in a heartbeart to play a MMORPG with Oblivion-like gameplay. MMORPG meets first-person shooter. Sort of like Darkfall, but with a reachable goal instead of trying to be everything to everyone. Give me fun gameplay, lots of content, and character progression that isn't shackled by that atrocity known as class, and you'll have my $15/mo.

Re:How Many? (2, Interesting)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078521)

Give me fun gameplay, lots of content, and character progression that isn't shackled by that atrocity known as class, and you'll have my $15/mo.
Ultima Online [uoherald.com]

Over a decade old, and it is a classless, skill-based system just like the amazing innovation that is Oblivion.

Re:How Many? (2, Interesting)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#20080103)

to quote a UO playing friend of mine "please go die in a chemical fire".

UO is terrible. It was only acceptable when it was released because it was the only thing most people knew about as far as persistent online games were concerned, and even then that's because Sierra didn't advertise The Realm anywhere near enough.

UO suffered (and in some cases still suffers) from terrible gameplay and lag issues, as well as having a solid community of griefers, necessitating a shard system which removes PvP from the game completely for anyone who wants to play without being constantly pwned and teabagged by Legends and Epics.

Otoh, they let you collect the brains of those you slaughter.

Re:How Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20081331)

Back in 2001 before MMOs got uber-mainstream, the player base was a hell of a lot better and more intelligent. THAT'S what makes a great MMO, not a long ass grind. Today all the little brats have mommy's credit card, and it sort of spoils the fun when every third word spoken over chat is "fag."

They make an online game where you have to pass an intelligence test to get into, maybe I'll bite. But since that's such an idiotic idea, it won't happen. Guess I'll just settle for WoW and try not to cut myself reading the Barrens chat.

Let me preempt you. "No, please do."

Re:How Many? (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20081485)

necessitating a shard system which removes PvP from the game completely for anyone who wants to play without being constantly pwned and teabagged by Legends and Epics
There were no "legendaries" or "epics" in UO when they implemented Trammel. Everyone was on equal ground as far as gear. Your character's skills and your personal skill is what separated the good players from the dead. You sound like you are just parroting rhetoric someone else told you.

Re:How Many? (2, Funny)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#20081783)

Indeed there were no Legendaries or Epics. These skill levels were added in Kingdom Reborn, with a client just as buggy and useless as the original, touting an 'advanced 3d engine' which still used some of the same sprites from the original client. Great.

You know WHY they were added? Because the game that essentially defined the grind wasn't grindy enough anymore.

Your stab is noted, btw.. if i could think up a witty retort, i would have done so already. Instead, i'll just stand amazed and gape because you recommended UO in the first place*. The only appeal i can see it having is fringe appeal, or retro perhaps. Some kind of fucked up retro that's completely unaware of anything better.

*no, wait.. did you just call Oblivion innovative??

Re:How Many? (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#20081891)

To clarify, i apologise for mixing metaphors, but i'm really, honestly not sure why you suggested UO.. The OP was looking for an MMO with gameplay like oblivion. The only thing they have even remotely in common is their skill system, and even then it's not the same..

As far as skill is concerned, on Oceania (at least.. i couldn't play anywhere else..) what seperated the good players from the dead was ping times.

Re:How Many? (1)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20084357)

I could mention SecondLife has sims that run their own MMO, complete with skills powers and loot xp you name it.. Look up DCS when your in SL

Re:How Many? (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20091521)

Too bad it's static, the AI sucks, and extremely overcrowded - even now with its low subscription numbers. I did the calculations at one point, and the overall population density per square "meter" of the gameworld (if a square meter is equal to a tile) is something like 3.5:1. I took the overall population, because that's what contributes to house-spam - not current logged-in characters.

If they had stuck to the original PvP system, the original ecosystem concept (originally all creatures needed to eat - but it wasn't balanced correctly and you ended up with things like a forest that's completely empty because someone went through and slaughtered all the deer. This would properly be addressed by having a much bigger gameworld, afaik), skill advancement whose difficulty to raise is such that the general population skill-level in that particular skill is on a bell curve (keeps the world from being overrun by tankmages with heavy xbows, as opposed to simply nerfing things).... Basically, the game started to go to shit just before Richard Garriot was fired from the whole process and Origin was dissolved ;)

An interesting thing about that bell-curve thing is that it would create a world where there are only a few grand-masters in any given skill.. makes people famous ;)

Another thing that completely killed the game was hire-able npc vendors. Some of my best memories of that game was stopping by Lilo's Forge (original owner / creator of the Yew Trading Company - he had shop set up in the field next to the three-way crossroads south of yew - not the four-way crossroads east of skara brae) to chat and place an order for a new weapon. Occasionally pk bandits would attack, but because so many people were hanging out generally having a good time while their goods were made / retreived, we almost always repelled them :) With the advent of the placable vendors, you took the entire social aspect of shopping for a new weapon or piece of armor out of the game - which ruined it in a lot of aspects. Another cool thing about Lilo's Forge is that you could sell a magical item you found and was useless to you - to them! And you got a lot better prices for it than if you'd sold it to an NPC. Good times, really miss that style of play... back when everything was new.

Re:How Many? (2, Interesting)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079969)

That being said, I would drop cash in a heartbeart to play a MMORPG with Oblivion-like gameplay.

The best thing about Oblivion is what happens to it when it's modded. Almost every single PC review will talk about how the available mods turn it in to the game it should have been - from interface enhancements to losing powerless vampires and demons at low level and losing indestructable uber wolves at high level. The biggest complaints most reviews seem to have with its expansions is that they play with the mods turned off again and realize how much they miss them.

Unfortunately, MMOs tend not to be moddable - losing the best aspect of Oblivion's gameplay.

Then there's their second best feature - completely exploitable gameplay. No "balanced" MMO is going to let you create a spellcaster with custom spells that drop cold defenses by 100%, increase cold damage by 100% and do so much damage on touch that they're one shot kills. Whilst that utterly appeals to the hacker gamer mentality, it's something that'll have most players whining about how "unfair" it is.

While it's theoretically possible they'll carve out a niche, inventing an MMO that gives all of those advantages back, doesn't claim to be balanced and stops worrying about whether people can powerlevel or have to suck up grind or not... something tells me that no current publisher has the nerve to risk it. Shame. Seeing those aspects of Oblivion make it to the MMO space would be one hell of a breath of fresh air.

Re:How Many? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20083415)

I would drop cash in a heartbeart to play a MMORPG with Oblivion-like gameplay.

Oh definitely! Instead of gold farming and the endless grind for experience points, we'll get to see people running and bouncing all over the place, or standing ankle deep in water to train their Light Armour skill. Should be fun to watch.

Re:How Many? (1)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 6 years ago | (#20090515)

A first person shooter MMO... Oblivion-Online FPS MMO... Oblivion is an adventure/RPG in first person perspective. Nobody has yet created the ultimate FPS MMO from what I can recall. One day it will happen, but any storyline or character progression immediately moved it closer to the realm of RPG-land. I think FPSs will only make it as far as the crop of FPSs with their online compontents, BF series, UT series, Quake series, FEAR, etc.

Watch as they hate on thieves (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078543)

One of the best parts of the gameplay of Oblivion was the thief skills. Any house you want you can pick the lock, steal goods and sell them to fences. Only the best thieves get access to the best fences. There's even a mythology around it: the mysterious Gray Fox!

Compare this to 99% of online games where thieves are universally hated on. The sneak skills don't work. The pickpocket skills only work on poor NPCs and mobs. Lock picking is virtually non-existent.

Virtual world designers hate thieves because they don't play the game in straight lines. They're not trying to get more kit or grind up levels. They're more like hackers, trying to find the interesting nooks and crannies of the game. Using the thief skills you can finish every mission in Oblivion almost without killing a single monster. Fine for a single player game, but how do you balance such awesome skills in a competitive online world?

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (2, Funny)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078641)

You completely nerf them and turn TES into yet another generic hack/n/slash grind fest.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (2, Funny)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20081729)

They already did that to TES. It's called "Oblivion".

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20085057)

While mostly true, there is a lot of oblivion you can do without killing anything.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20088597)

True, you can choose the alternative style of play which consists of following the green arrow and clicking where you're told by the pop-up messages. In fact, I hear that for TES V they've decided to take the concept further, and the game will play itself without any human intervention.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20088939)

And the circle is complete, we've rolled back to the late 90s where having a 10 minute cutscene every 5 minutes was considered "good" gameplay.

RPGs (1)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20096015)

Well, Origin had the honesty to classify those games as "Interactive Movies". And they made some of the best RPGs ever (Ultima VII is probably the peak of the RPG genre).

Anyway, the problem with Oblivion aren't the cutscenes (which are weak but thankfully few). The problem with Oblivion is they tried to make a "RPG" for 10 year old players with consoles. The result is a bit like trying to make an "intellectual" version of Mortal Kombat or a "realistic" version of Super Mario. It's just the wrong kind of approach. Oblivion would be a much better game if they did away with the pseudo-RPG elements (and the hideous, generally uninspired, buggy-as-hell "quests") and focused on the combat aspects. Oblivion is actually quite fun as a hack'n'slash game. It's just not a good (believable, immersive, consistent) RPG or "world simulator".

I agree with some of the posters above, though, the "Thieves' Guild" sub-plot is by far the best part of the game. It's almost as if it was designed by someone with vision, and actually playtested (something that I find impossible to believe about the rest of the game).

It still suffers from the hand-holding, just-follow-the-arrow, auto-balancing-enemies approach, though, and it still has some incredible bugs. For example, whenever you talk to a thief you have a conversation topic called "The Gray Fox", and they all tell you exactly the same thing, word for word... including the Gray Fox himself. Maybe he's just one of those people who like to talk about themselves in the 3rd person, but still, it's kind of confusing to see him doubt his own existence...

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078827)

Only the best thieves get access to the best fences. There's even a mythology around it: the mysterious Gray Fox!

You mean he's a fence in addition to being a crazy cyborg ninja?!

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078847)

Make pocket-picking success depend on something like intelligence, awareness, whatever, of the victim...something that's likely to help you no matter what type of role you play, and improve as you level up. Throw in a luck factor, but ensure that it's very rare for you to be able to pick the pocket of somebody of equivalent attributes to your own. Also make the skill improve on a slower curve than anti-pick-pocketing, so no matter how good you get, the biggest prizes are always hard. Add in something like in Eve-Online, where 'can thieves' (people who rob ore or loot out of a container that is insecure but that you have ownership of) can legally be killed by the person they stole from for an hour or so after the fact, and are flagged in a way that it's obvious that they are who did it, and you can kill them. In this case, I'd say make it so the flag is only set if the pick-pocket is detected. Maybe roll for success and detection separately, so that failing to get anything does not automatically earn you a death sentence, and successfully snatching something doesn't automatically mean the victim didn't notice you doing it.

For other thief-type skills, just put ward, trap, detect invis, detect person, etc., spells in the game.

On the whole, I think it's very workable - with the caveat that it would have to be much like Eve Online, where PvP is everywhere; even in 'secure' space, if you get caught stealing, your victim can shoot you down, right in front of the NPC police, and nobody bats an eye. Breaking into a player guild house, for instance, should be quite do-able...but if anybody's home and you get seen, they should be able to attack you.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078993)

Yep, that's exactly the kind of nerfing I'm talking about. If it's illegal to kill people, it should be illegal to kill thieves. The "NPC Police" should arrest thieves and make them serve appropriate sentences.. assuming of course that your world works that way. If you use death as the punishment for everything then yeah, your system works just fine. As for flagging people.. that's one of my pet hates. Nothing like sneaking into a house, making sure you're not see, making sure you're wearing an appropriate disguise, grabbing the loot and then discovering that you have been magically tagged as a thief and now everyone wants to kill you.

Oh, and the biggest annoying factor is that often the world designers will make stealing from, say, chests ok but stealing from player inventories not ok. Then they'll fail to provide any advantage or requirement to put stuff in chests. Characters walk around with a million tonnes of stuff in their inventory. As character inventories (including gold) are magically safe from looting, there's no need to lock it up in chests and guard it. Similarly, often these medieval era games have banks.. which is just retarded.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (2, Insightful)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079201)

In Eve-Online, death is not really death, a can thief will just get his ship blown up if he loses. So the NPC police in this case are just turning a blind eye to one property crime as a result of another. Even if the aggrieved kills the pilot in the escape pod, the pilot has a clone stashed away on a space station which then gets activated, and the game goes on. As for banking, many of these swords and sorcery games are actually set at a tech level similar to the early Renaissance period rather than the medieval Era. World of Warcraft for instance has firearms, crossbows, and full plate armor. It is therefore perfectly reasonable that they have banks, as banking was an innovation of that period in real life, for instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugger [wikipedia.org]

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 6 years ago | (#20082087)

Except for the fact that medieval MMO's treat banks as a catch-all, store anything, retrieve half way around the globe, impossible to be broken into and have its contents stolen, free public service with little to no cost to the customers, for an indefinite period of time system. To add insult to injury against would-be thieves, Blizzard doesn't even offer a half-assed explanation to why a bank in WoW is an empty building without a vault or how the Auction House can store thousands of items at any given time yet have its auctioneers stand around town nowhere near a storage facility. Hell even the Pokemon games use the explanation of a digital delivery and storage system to explain how a player can own so many Pokemon at once.

When MMOs allows you to break into a bank (or better yet, the Auction House) and rob it (of course assuming you can fight off all the guards and players that come to its rescue) THEN we'll talk.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (4, Funny)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20082581)

I agree... Wow would be MUCH better if the cities had a massive room, and every time you transacted a peice of business the banker walked into the massive room and locked up your stuff. It would be REALLY fucking cool if my stuff could be stolen while I was offline too! I mean, that would really kick ass!

You are full of awesome ideas. You know what bothers the hell out of me about WoW?! I can eat a razor tail pot pie, and NEVER have to go use a toilet. What the fuck is the deal with that?! I want to HAVE to take shits! That would give Taurens an advantage, because they would have bigger colons than gnomes, and wouldn't have to take potty breaks as often.

And can we get some fucking virtual grooming?! How do they reconcile the fact that my dwarf NEVER needs to clip his toe nails... Things like that really ruin a game for me.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20083089)

Point taken. Realism != fun. Thing is, it's cries like yours that take any sort of PvP gameplay off the table. It's thanks to players like you that we have "consensual" duels. It's thanks to players like you that all these games are so boring and have so little challenge and anyone who just grinds through can make it to a high level.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#20086247)

Last time I checked, WoW has non-consensual PvP. At least on the "PvP" servers. And I don't know how you get what type of player this guy is just because he points out the obvious...having Oblivion style thieves in MMORPGs would be really annoying. Sure, some people would like it...but for people like that you have Eve.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20086255)

A duel is, by nature, a consentual act. Otherwise it is murder. I'd like to point out, while I am posting, that most people don't seem to realize that if thieves really had thieving skills, they would be have to be nearly useless in combat situations due to skill balancing. A thief character should never be able to come close to holding their own in a fair fight. And fights will invariable be fair since the environment itself is not so interactive. Just don't let em catch you! They'll kill you, take their stuff back, and then take your stuff.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094379)

Yeah, I may have gone off the deep end a bit, in the interest of funny... I actaully really like the idea of non consentual PVP, even within your own faction, the problem is it would be really difficult to balance. I don't play WoW anymore, but if a game comes out with a really well balanced PVP system like that (don't say EVE, I want to hit people with swords) I would be down for that.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20084415)

Don't know about you, but my Tauren is always grooming, picking & swatting at the bugs.
All the damn time...

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 6 years ago | (#20082237)

Nothing like sneaking into a house, making sure you're not see, making sure you're wearing an appropriate disguise, grabbing the loot and then discovering that you have been magically tagged as a thief and now everyone wants to kill you.

I think I was pretty clear on that point...if you get caught, you get flagged. If not, no flag.
I didn't play Oblivion for more than 40 hours (just couldn't get into it, dunno why...), but if you prefer it be handled by the cops, I see no reason you couldn't run it like Morrowind did...get caught stealing, you lose all your loot (including stolen items not related to the particular offense you got caught at, if you happen to be wearing them at the time...to add realism, say that anybody who has something stolen has to report it to the local NPC cop shop or something inside 72hrs), and you get your XP knocked down an amount equivalent to doing jail time, or can pay a fine as an alternative to the jail time. Then the victims could go to claim their stuff. Easy-peasy.

Main reason I like Eve's system is that it's more directly up to players to deal with theft than NPC's...more player interaction. Also, it discourages people from keeping valuables in a way that would be insecure if it weren't for NPC police (like, say, walking around with all their inventory on their person, instead of in a locked chest...) And more like the real world than an idealistic one where the police are perfect and not discriminating, it's easier to victimize noobs (i.e., the weak and the poor) than the wealthy and powerful. That encourages new players to work together.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079103)

It's a little hard to describe how I'd want thieving to work in TES Online. If it worked exactly like in the offline games, you'd have high level thieves picking on low level newbies. The logical fix for this is a maximum level difference between thief and victim, but the way Elder Scrolls games work, I doubt that would be the best way. I would want characters to have a "total worth" threshold, so when their total worth, including equipment, money and items, exceeds a certain value, they are fair game for thieves, since in TES, you could possibly pick herbs to get rich and never really level up. This would stop people getting a kind of immunity from thieves by getting rich without leveling up. Also, a person's total worth would probably be a good indicator of their status in the world. If the game would have a completely functioning economy, then richer people would likely be human players who trade and smuggle and end up controlling merchant conglomerates. Anyway, that's just my poorly-expressed two cents. It's early morning and I haven't had a coffee yet >. Slashdot first, THEN coffee :P

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079821)

Too many artificial barriers, IMHO.

I'm going to second the way EVE Online does it. It's quite possible to be nearly 100% safe from gankers in space, even mining. However, there's basically three ways to mine: directly into cargo hold, into secure can, and into jetcan. The third is by far more efficient, but it opens you up to being stolen from.

I like that dynamic. "Here's some options. You can do it safely or quickly. Your choice." And anyone who chooses the "safe" method is, indeed, safe.

And anyone who chooses the "quick" method is liable to be stolen from.

I don't know how that could be done with thievery. Maybe "secure banks" are expensive. Maybe you have the ability to carry X pounds of loot, or buy a backpack that allows you to carry X*5 pounds of loot but can be stolen from. Maybe you can carry "thief traps" around - the equivalent to armed mousetraps - that trigger and hurt or unmask thieves, but they take cargo space. But I like that general risk/reward thing far better than arbitrary level barriers.

("Sorry, evil dude. You can't steal from that person. It's Not Allowed. Why not? Well, we don't really know, it's just impossible!")

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20082677)

Maybe players could keep some money in their shoes! That would be safe from thieves who go for their money pouch :P. I like your idea too. I think the idea of a "secure vault" isn't perfect though... What would be better is if no vault was totally secure, but was secure enough to keep your average thief out. Therefore, a thief and friends of high enough skill, could get through some security things (locks, traps and the like), some large guardian creatures (and player characters in the employ of the banks), plus a few magical defenses (like illusion mazes that keep people trapped going around in circles), all culminating in finally getting to an individual player's vault (or maybe a clan's communal funds) to reap the rewards. The level of security in a vault would depend on just how much money the owner is willing to spend on it, so some would be like Gringott's on steroids while others would be a rickety wooden door with a dodgy lock :P

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20083545)

The problem with that is griefers. A lot of high-level players would go after the newbies just for the sake of driving newbies out of the game. That's a bad idea. Having security based in any way on the player's advancement through the game is guaranteed to end up with an incredibly newbie-hostile game, and adding weird artificial barriers creates all sorts of bizarre effects at the borders which are rarely good.

The advantage to Eve's techniques is that even rank newbies can use the most secure methods - in fact, the less secure methods actually take a little further investment. There's no point in the game at which a high-level player can ruin your day at no risk to themselves. More frequently it's the other way around, and that's the way it should be IMHO.

Remember, for a lot of players money isn't the goal - anger is.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20099037)

It's easy to fix problems of people losing ALL their stuff in the bank to a thief in the design of the bank. Have the wall covered in locked bank-boxes. Use a sort of bag system like WoW did (without the large default bank space), where you get multiple small containers to store all your stuff instead of one big container, where each container you get is just supposed to be another box on the wall, although none of them actually have anything specific inside of them. When a thief comes in and picks a bank box open, he's connected to the contents of a randomly chosen bank box from the database to prevent griefing (possibly even NPC boxes purely for random loot), making the loss any player might face very minimal. Then, make sure the security is tight enough that a thief might only have a small window of time to pick a box, grab the contents, and run. If he's caught by the guards, they take the loot off of him or his corpse and return it to the bank. Quest-items or other "memento" items with more sentimental than cash value wouldn't appear in the listing, as no self-respecting thief would steal such useless trinkets from a realism standpoint anyway. Losing stuff to theft would just be a balance for getting to store your extra items somewhere. You could also add more expensive bank-boxes for players to rent which are harder to pick, or are in more secure areas of the bank (possibly in a vault). Again, no specific person's stuff would come up when you loot any box, but boxes of one type represented physically in the game would correspond to loot in the database of the same type of box. No griefing or player-targeting possible (except as a large group) and minimal losses suffered by any victims, while still providing a suitable reward for a challenging achievement on the theif's part. You could even add a bounty provided by the NPC bank-owners for people who kill theives and help the stolen goods get returned, causing a whole city of players to serve as guards for the items stored in said bank. The key to fixing any problem is always balance of risk and reward, not careless removal of possible features which players would enjoy. I mean, who wouldn't have fun trying to rob a bank?

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Hausenwulf (956554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20085515)

Stealing is fine for single player games. Unfortunately, thieving is a huge grief mechanic in multiplayer games. It goes all the way back to the death robed thieves hanging out near the bank in Ultima Online.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (2, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078901)

Many designers don't seem to appreciate anything that will make soft players cry, such as being pick pocketed or killed by another player. Such popular safeguards only drag MMOs further down into the "waste of time" pit as opposed to elevating them into the "immersing world" category.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 6 years ago | (#20086717)

This is because "soft" players are the ones that don't cost more bandwidth money than their subscription fee.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20078903)

I love you QuantumG, but for fuck's sake, using "hate on" makes you come across like a 12-year old wigger.

Sneak and backstab (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20078977)

The MUDS I used to play gave thieves a backstab skill.
If you snuck into a room and used backstab to start a fight, it would deal ridiculous damage.

I'd like to see this implemented in a 3D game.
The sneak skill could actually reduce the character's opacity/reflectivity.

If the player gets behind a mob/player, he can hit the backstab key for a very high damage, or instant-kill even.

Re:Sneak and backstab (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079111)

I believe rogue class characters in WoW have a backstab skill. Isn't that great of course.

Re:Sneak and backstab (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#20085363)

Says someone who has never been innocently picking an herb and then an instant later been dead after some random rogue nailed you with a crit that did twice your hitpoints in damage.

Say a lot of things about rogues in WoW, but you can't throw down on their combat and stealth skills (the rest of their skills, YES)...They are extremely solid. The main tactic against a rogue is to "outlast" his initial damage rush...If you can do that, you have a chance to counterattack while he is gathering energy for another couple rounds of damage spam, assuming he doesn't just use the vanish skill and jump back into stealth.

It's also interesting in that you have more than one valid path for rogue combat. You can be super stealthy, with the bulk of you skills dedicated to stealth and sneak attacks, or you can be more toe-to-toe combat oriented, with high speed attacks and nasty damage.

Re:Sneak and backstab (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079305)

Both DAoC and WoW thieves have this ability to backstab for quite a few years now. Other PC/NPC players' ability to see those "stealthed" thieves depends, I believe, on their perception skills and how quickly/slowly the thief moves.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079861)

One of the best parts of the gameplay of Oblivion was the thief skills. Any house you want you can pick the lock, steal goods and sell them to fences. Only the best thieves get access to the best fences. There's even a mythology around it: the mysterious Gray Fox!

Compare this to 99% of online games where thieves are universally hated on. The sneak skills don't work. The pickpocket skills only work on poor NPCs and mobs. Lock picking is virtually non-existent.

Virtual world designers hate thieves because they don't play the game in straight lines. They're not trying to get more kit or grind up levels. They're more like hackers, trying to find the interesting nooks and crannies of the game. Using the thief skills you can finish every mission in Oblivion almost without killing a single monster. Fine for a single player game, but how do you balance such awesome skills in a competitive online world?
On the flipside, the lockpicking mechanism in Oblivion was an absolutely terrible implementation for an RPG, due to the fact that it required player input to be done successfully, rather than relying on any stats. It doesn't matter if you're maxed out in lockpicking, if you're really terrible at the lockpicking mini-game, you won't even be able to open the simplest locks, [although you can have the game do it for you.] and if you're really good at it, then a level 100 lock isn't going to stop you, even at level 1.

But nevermind that, let's focus on this: "Virtual world designers hate thieves because they don't play the game in straight lines. They're not trying to get more kit or grind up levels. They're more like hackers, trying to find the interesting nooks and crannies of the game. Using the thief skills you can finish every mission in Oblivion almost without killing a single monster." it really must be pointed out, that with Oblivion's skill system, it doesn't matter what class you are, you can do anything you want. [Join the mages guild and become guild master as a fighter class, without knowing *ANY* spells? Entirely possible!] So with the way the game works, what you just said holds true for every single class in the game. Thieves aren't any better implemented in Oblivion than fighters and mages are, because ultimately, there is only one class.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20084475)

If this was implemented in an on-line environment there won't be anything in the world to steal.

If you don't think that PCs won't take anything and everything that isn't nailed down then you're wrong. Within a week of play all house holds in the game will be stripped bare.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20085269)

It is that right there why I think they should not make Oblivion online. It is so unbalanced but thats ok to me. I can play the game and have fun without exploiting class advantages.

An example would be magic users. These guys would destroy anyone holding a sword.

I think if they came out with an online version it would be terrible in comparison to the single player version.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

IhuntCIA (1099827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20085963)

Watch as they hate on thieves

MMOG developers don't hate on thieves, they just need a way to keep players playing the content, and the best way is to grind for the resources, reputation, honor, like everyone else does. Thieves don't need to grind as much as others since they can pickpocket the enemy, lock pick the resources, and they can hide, back stab and garrote, no one needs honor for that. Grinding MMOGs are preventing players from trying to play any other game as they will fall behind their guild mates. Grinding concept is the most effective way of preventing the competition between the MMOG developers in fact it is killing the competition.

Compare this to 99% of online games where thieves are universally hated on.
.. by the enemy players for their sinister playing style.
.. by the friendly players for ninjaing / deserting the party in the middle of the instance ( my experience )
.. by the game developers for shortcutting the game content, avoiding the grinding concept, and various mischief related to NCP AI.

The sneak skills don't work.
Many MMOGs are level based. High level NCPs / bosses just can "see" the stealthy players. It is an easy, dirty and quick fix for the poor AI that fails to perform adequately.

Lock picking is virtually non-existent.
Yet it can make an thief / rogue important party member. A thief could sneak into the dungeon, explore it, open the treasure chests to see the content and organize the party for the looting.
Can a thief sneak around with the heavy backpack full of rattling loot without being detected? I guess he can in 99% of the games - poor AI and bad game engines is killing the team play, and draws anger and jealousy on the thieves. I say games need better engines.

Using the thief skills you can finish every mission in Oblivion almost without killing a single monster. Fine for a single player game, but how do you balance such awesome skills in a competitive online world?
By making the equipment attributes more than AC/DR/level/class/weight. Many games do not restrict equipment on class base, yet use arcane failure attribute to prevent arcane spell casters to wear anything better than cloth or leather armor. And You are talking about hatred towards thieves ...
If the equipment had an "rattle & noise" attribute, choosing the equipment would be an essential for the thief, and a great concern for the tactics and team play. That is IF the developers make the NCPs aware of the noise.
ZeniMax Online Studios have to enhance their game engine to make game more playable for the spell casters, and enhance NCPs AI to avoid WoW type instance looting. If their game becomes another grinding MMOG then it will not be worth much more than the graphics.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (1)

Hellpop (451893) | more than 6 years ago | (#20087829)

Turbine did thieves extremely well in D&D Online. No pocket picking or stealing, but a lot of dungeons require you to have a great thief in your party to disable traps and pick locks. Their hide/sneak skills can be developed well also. Thieves are not a luxury in that game, and as a result they are highly in demand.
Can't do Vault Of Night in House K without a great thief.

Re:Watch as they hate on thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20099069)

The problem is trying to fix the game so each class is equally valuable, but no single one is explicitly NEEDED. You don't NEED a tank, but having one makes things less hectic. You don't NEED a healer, but having one makes things a lot easier. You don't NEED a DPS class, but having one makes things go faster. What can a thief do that helps, but isn't intrinsically necessary to get the job done?

Ugh... (2, Interesting)

Drachemorder (549870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20079097)

Just as long as this doesn't steal time, resources, or people from their single-player RPGs, I'm okay with it. But if it does, even just a little, I will detest it. I hate MMOs.

Activision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20079651)

Fallout's MMOG rights are still firmly held by Activision
Er... what?

Sorry, I must have missed the memo, but since when did Activision have the rights to do a fallout anything?
Iirc, when the Bethesda bought the fallout ip, part of the deal was that _Interplay_ had an exclusive license to do a mmog.
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