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Is a new age of bad design coming? (MMOs)


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#21 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:32 AM

My only problem with this 'bad design' is the grinding by design. They are also set up like a form of gambling.

I've put HUNDREDS of hours into Skyrim, and none of it was grinding. That number may be 500 too. It was all fun and exploring.

I've put 100 hours into Dark Souls, and some of it was grinding, but that grinding was never required, and it was fun in the form of helping other players kill bosses.

In a commercial MMO, you have to grind for a ages to get anything.

Skyrim (for all it's faults) could teach these MMOs a thing or two. Open the whole world up and let players have missions that span the world. Make them take time to do.

When you take a mission in an MMO, you enter a small area where everything is close by, and your quest amounts to walking across the street from the NPC and killing ten of something. Repeat * 1000 until you are leveled enough to do the same thing in the next area.

Why not get a randomly generated mission in one town, that leads to someone in another town all together. The town is a few day's walk away. While you're walking you get distracted by wild life, maybe do some hunting, people trying to rob merchant carts, strange noises in the woods. Gather food (maybe from the hunt), and set up camp for the night, then continue until you reach the town and talk to your target who then gives you something to do in a cave that is half a day's walk away, etc...

Depending on your actions with that merchant cart, maybe you made a new player friend when you saved his shipment. Maybe you looted it and now the players in the thieve's guild are angry at you for infringing on their 'turf', and they take it up with the players in the bounty hunters guild. Maybe there are wanted posters with your face on them in whatever town was expecting that cart? There is so much potential to really simulate a little fantasy world and it's inner workings.

But instead everyone just does their zones bs and make people pay to grind endlessly for a 10,000th of a chance to get that rare drop. Just like people who keep putting money in casinos hoping against hope that they beat the odds and win money, even though it's all rigged to begin with. Paying to grind is like walking into McDonalds and giving them 15$ a month for the pleasure of scrubbing their toilets in the hopes that maybe you'll get a free big-mac.

You don't need to stagger things to keep people playing. People play other games for years on end. People still still play all the Elder Scrolls games, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, etc... They have fun mechanics and the player base takes on a life of it's own.

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#22 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7130

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:15 AM

All in all, my impression is that the vast majority of people doesn't really have too much interest in rich RPG and in fact enjoys a theme-park style of game, and even "grinding" (even while complaining, they enjoy it). I couldn't explain otherwise why such games are so massively successful.

I don't think that the success will hold on. WoW is loosing subscriptions for years now, lotro was forced into F2P and StarWars, well, it is more or less a flop and this with such a setting from bioware ! What about all the other games, DnDO, Rift, Aoen, Secret World, AoC, all have been beaten by WoW a 7 year old game. I think that WoW is still attracting new, more casual gamers, whereas core gamers keep away from new MMORPGs.

Skyrim (for all it's faults) could teach these MMOs a thing or two. Open the whole world up and let players have missions that span the world. Make them take time to do.

With elder scroll online we will see if an other top single player developer is able to pull it off.

The risk of developing a MMORPG is very high and many developers have tried to get their own MMORPG on its way, but many failed the desired goals. So, why do all try to make their own MMORPG ? Well, it is like always cash, which is greed, which is a bad base for good game design. The latter is reaching its climax in F2P MMORPGs:
grind as long as you want, but you need to pay to have fun Posted Image

Edited by Ashaman73, 28 November 2012 - 08:31 AM.


#23 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:52 PM

So I have an idea or scenario that might be interesting...

Say you have an MMO where the player creates some of the content.

We task the player with controlling their own plane of existence or something like that. We give them an area to make their dream dungeon/castle/base/whatever and they need loot and experience to unlock all the goodies they can to make their base. That means they need to adventure into other players bases to get gold and gear. When the player is online, they could possibly fight with their minions to help fight adventures or multiple adventures or even parties can be running through copies of your base at the same time. Going through the base will give the base owner and the adventuring team experience, but the base owner doesn't get as much. As the player develops their bases, they are creating higher level dungeons which helps to maintain content for the player base. Of course, this model would also be strong for microtransactions as a player could buy special monsters for their base to help boost their gold collection or adventures could buy checkpoints or gear that will make it easier to go through the base.

Just like how players enjoy making levels and maps and all that goodness, in this game we hand that to the players themselves with only a handful of developer created levels. Only thing that really needs to be developed content wise is a fair sized library of parts, weapon assets, and characters. Sure, good game-play, a hub world, and a level-creator will need to be developed, but that doesn't seem so bad with letting the players essentially create, build, and maintain their own expansion of your game.

...dang, I like this idea a lot now... Posted Image

Edit to make sense: A game where the players create levels for players to explore. A vicious cycle of game-play where the player plays to create content for other players to play... inception?

Edited by DaveTroyer, 28 November 2012 - 02:55 PM.

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#24 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

Easier said than done. MMO's have to be great and realistic games, but have to be the same game for each player. That means that the questgivers will stand in the same spot 24/7 and the quests will have to be text-based, and there are lots of queues.

C dominates the world of linear procedural computing, which won't advance. The future lies in MASSIVE parallelism.


#25 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17998

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:36 AM

Say you have an MMO where the player creates some of the content.

Player created content is potentially a great idea -- and it worked well in the afore-mentioned Real of The Mad God -- but it isn't without problems:
  • Players can game the system by creating ridiculously easy challenges to give each other rewards.
  • Trolls can work to try creating scenarios that are impossible to win.
  • Some players are just unimaginative or unskilled and will create bland and boring content, or a lot of the same generic content.
  • It can be hard to find and highlight the really good content in a manageable way.
These are all problems that can be solved in different ways, but they definitely mean that player created content is non-trivial to implement.

but have to be the same game for each player

Do they?

This is something that players are used to from existing games, and no one wants to miss out on any experiences or opportunities that others get to experience, but maybe this is an assumption that could be challenged: is there a way we could make it acceptable to not present the same content to each player?

#26 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7130

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:42 AM

Easier said than done. MMO's have to be great and realistic games, but have to be the same game for each player. That means that the questgivers will stand in the same spot 24/7 and the quests will have to be text-based, and there are lots of queues.

It is only hard as long as you keep thinking in the boundaries of existing MMO's.

The game experience should be the same, but the way to accomplish it could be different. E.g. a mine quest could be started by a rumor. A rumor could be told by X different people in a town. A miner which goes into a tavern telling stories about the old mine (only accessable in the evening), a widow you met in the morning at the market, telling you that her husband died from a mysteriously illness from the mines. A child playing in the yard fearing to get near the mine. A blackboard seeking Y new miners.

As long as you think in term of quest-grinding, kill-X-rats-quests, loot-siege etc. you will not come up with new ideas.

#27 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7130

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:47 AM

A game where the players create levels for players to explore. A vicious cycle of game-play where the player plays to create content for other players to play... inception?

This is a goal of my game, but it is not yet fully available to test it out (though you can build your own dungeon level and it can be imported). I'm curious about if it works, I think it depends a lot on the available building tools. We will see :D

#28 dtg108   Members   -  Reputation: 394

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:59 AM

We task the player with controlling their own plane of existence or something like that. We give them an area to make their dream dungeon/castle/base/whatever and they need loot and experience to unlock all the goodies they can to make their base. That means they need to adventure into other players bases to get gold and gear. When the player is online, they could possibly fight with their minions to help fight adventures or multiple adventures or even parties can be running through copies of your base at the same time. Going through the base will give the base owner and the adventuring team experience, but the base owner doesn't get as much. As the player develops their bases, they are creating higher level dungeons which helps to maintain content for the player base. Of course, this model would also be strong for microtransactions as a player could buy special monsters for their base to help boost their gold collection or adventures could buy checkpoints or gear that will make it easier to go through the base.

This is something sort of like what we are doing with our game, and I'm glad you mentioned it, Dave. Here is how ours works. It might help to mention that our game is a zombie apocalypse MMO, kind of made like dayZ: You can really "shape" your environment, because you can build things such as walls, forts, anything. So really, you as a player can restore humanity. Do you want to build a town? Heck, if you have the equipment go for it! If people trust you enough, you could rebuild a civilization. Of course, with our zombies, the could still break in, and that's your job to stop them from doing so. With this feature, I think people will be excited. Of course, this is survival, so you will still have to find food, water, medicine, etc. for your town. I think this would be great for other MMOs, as well.

Edited by dtg108, 29 November 2012 - 10:00 AM.


#29 BCullis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1813

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:42 AM

Say you have an MMO where the player creates some of the content.

Another vein of thinking is in terms of emergent gameplay i.e. ways to play the game devised by the players that weren't initially scripted or intended by the developer. Most of the time this is trivial (or game-breaking) stuff like MMO players throwing parties or holding reward-based contests (speed runs, guild activities, "beat this dungeon equipped with naught but a haddock", etc). If the game is instead designed as an emergence-promoting sandbox (give players tools or abilities to create contextually-recognizable goals), you can get all kinds of results:

Placing bounties on other players
Posting quests/jobs on in-game boards that have specific controls on how rewards can be applied ("I need N [link item required], paying [select from algorithm-derived currency amt or available owned items within a quality range]")
Creating unintended fabrication or resource-gathering industries (Logger's guild started up because enough people want crafting resources, build a warehouse to sell from)
Creating player cities by allowing the construction (and subsequent zoning) of structures
Make various stats and activities trackable by the game server so you leave room for granting experience or rewards for previously unplanned activities

It's really hard, actually, to list potentials, because the best part of emergent play is that it's organic and unexpected, it grows out of how people decide to play. Minecraft is the perfect example, but a bit too non-directional. People have devised all kinds of ways to play, but there's no good metric for progress or achievement (aside from the "ooo" factor of a structure or the number of diamonds you've found).

Emergent play is likely the direction a few popular games will go in the next decade. They can't just be empty sandboxes, you need to plant a few seeds of desired progress or achievement, and nurture it through a game system that supports a wide range of activities on some level, and it's not an easy balancing act to do. But someone's going to stumble across the right mix of direction and freedom.
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#30 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4860

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

After reading all of this, figured I would put in my two cents worth! ( fyi this is the second edit of this because the first one was so long it wouldnt let me post it, and then it lost it... so.... this is kinda a sum up of a 50 page previous post! lmao )

Background:

I have played almost every mmo since Everquest. I have alpha/beta tested so many clients I have no clue the numbers at this point. I had a number 1 ranked guild in Lineage 2 ( grind crazy game, specially for guild leaders ) and I have had successful guilds in many other games. In fact, the main reason my gaming community got started was because of an MMO. Suffice to say, I have some time "wasted" on thousands of hours with each and every attempt at an MMO.

Design Flaws:

As many have already mentioned there are some inherent issues with the design of any MMO. Many companies, including the giant Blizzard, have found that the easiest form of combating these inherent issues is to throw content at the player. This does not really answer the problem it simply quells it, and as my friend Ashaman has already stated this business model is on of fortitude, eventually they will run out of the ability to create content fast enough and their lifespan will dwindle. So lets get out some of the basic issues, some already stated:

Hero complex:
This is more true than one could imagine. The core of gaming is to experience something that you, yourself, would be unable to do in real life. To be something bigger, better, stronger, faster, and more powerful than humanly imaginable. ( not all games have this concept but when you are dealing with RPG's this is very much a staple point ) To accomplish this you must put the player in an epic story where they are the key factor in the resolution of the conflict. Where this gets to be a problem is when you have 5mil subscribers who expect and demand the same thing. How can you deliver such a thing to each player, the simple answer is you cant. In todays business model they simply throw more quests at you and questing zones in hopes that players will adventure out and do the other quest lines. Good in theory, bad in practice, since most players simply want to max out their characters so they can get to the end game content. ( what many mmo players call the REAL game )
If we take a moment to look at what this really means we see that the only purpose for the gamer to go through lvl 1 - 100 would be for the developer to draw out the payments the player must make. I mean lets get down to the brass tax here, the reason the level model existed previously was for some form of progression, but in an MMO it has a dual purpose. Create progression and game development while extending the time needed to play to ensure the consumer is consuming. The only logical method to attack this would be to throw more content at the player to ensure they are leveling longer and without worry, sadly the players are smarter than the developer gives them credit for and they begin to min/max their characters. This creates leveling guides and fastest leveling builds; defeating the purpose of the progression system and destroying any hope of the developer being able to control the rate at which the gamer will progress. In doing this, the developer is presented with yet another problem... do we modify the core game to restrict those that attempt to min/max thus making it harder for the casual player or do we simply make it easier overall and appeal only to the casual gamer? The answer, much like the problem, is very problematic and any choice you make fucks with the 5mil other players that are playing. This is one of the pitfalls of designing a game meant for millions of gamers rather than for one person at a time. So what can be done?

Hero Complex Solution:
The simple answer is we must look at how we attack the idea of delivering content to the player. Rather than give them 50 fetch quests ( cause it is easy to code ) we need to look into skill driven quests that the player can complete. Each quest could have level of skills defined and the player ( upon accepting the quest ) would choose what skill level to do the quest at. The higher the skill level the more reward the player would gain from completing it and the more difficult the adventure/quest would be. We also need to learn better ways to present quests to the playerbase. Many games are attacking this now such as Firefall. Instead of an NPC that simply gives anybody who talks to him/her a quest have some story driven content that provides quests to the entire world and as players complete aspects of the quest the entire world is updated. This type of system is complex to do and is by no means the answer to all but it can go a long way to help look at the problem of fetch and turn in quest method. This also opens the door for players to challenge other players to do quests better or faster which in turn gives them incentives to do them more than once! Netting more rewards and more gains. How many times did you play a COD map over because you wanted the 3 gold stars, or in the iPhone app you wanted to get the full perfect score for the level you were on... we must learn to capture that desire and need and harness that with enjoyment and fun.

What other problems exist for the MMO Genre?

To many, the field of possible issues is insurmountable; I believe this is the main reason as to why thousands of companies dream but fail. The genre limits creativity and hampers the designer’s abilities because of our lack in technology. If developers were to spend more time advancing the technology to support new and innovative methods for delivering story and content than perhaps the field would be viable again… until such a time it is just going to be a content burn.

#31 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:52 PM

Easier said than done. MMO's have to be great and realistic games, but have to be the same game for each player. That means that the questgivers will stand in the same spot 24/7 and the quests will have to be text-based, and there are lots of queues.

I actually implemented my random idea (not to the full degree I wanted) as a NWN mod that ran as a persistant server (like a small MMO) and the players enjoyed the hell out of it. Nothing has to be the same. And nothing was the same.

I scripted everything up to cater to the individual player instead of what MMOs do, which is have set things stand there 24/7 and make the player cater to the preset content.

In a standard MMO there is a static broken merchant caravan at the same spot. The NPC will stand there 24/7 and repeat the same crap about the same guys that ran off to the same place over and over again. The enemies drop the same crap over and over, and there is one thing you can do with it.

In my system, there was no cart, there was no quest. I gave every player an array of 3 quest slots as part of their custom data, and I generated stuff on the fly to fill those empty slots.

So a player enters a zone. This zone has part of a road that goes from town a to town b. So it's a trade route. So after checking that the player has an empty quest spot, and he passes a random check to see if I should generate something,

I generate a merchant cart somewhere. Not on a specific pre set spot. Anywhere in the zone. In the grass, up a tree. Upside down in some rocks. Who cares? Just put it somewhere random. If the player stumbles upon it, then his imagination can fill in the blanks. The thieves hid it, they ran him off the road, or the merchant was drunk.

Maybe I generate a merchant there with randomly generated story that some (creature/guild/thieves) attacked him and ran off with (any random item).

Maybe I don't generate a merchant, and I just put some random object there that acts as a clue that (random creature) was there and ran off to (random place).

Maybe the merchant is fine and YOU decide to act as the bandit, creating new content for another player to find.

So now the player has a unique event to react to or ignore.

When the player enters the destination that has the (random creatures), I see this in the script that checks everyone who enters a zone, I generated the content for them.

If the player destroys the (creature) and gets any randomly generated associated loot. He can do what he likes with them. There are variables attached that say what they are, and where they came from. So the game always knows that player has the loot item from a bandit raid on the road (should he choose not to return it), and the game can react to it constantly. Maybe you don't want to return it because you're evil, it's useful to you, or you can get a better deal for it).

On rare occasions, that loot could have been an item someone else was looking for, causing new random quests between the factions that were interested in it.

If a another player stumbled upon that merchant that was waiting for the loot return and killed him. I'd generate an evidence item. So you'd have the loot to find a new owner for, and a quest item to find out who who murdered that guy (if you wanted to follow up on it). (I never coded up the part where I wanted this to happen only with nearby players, and to require the player to interact with them as witnesses, then the guilty player can have generated authorities looking for them).

I had quests to save NPCs from randomly generated places or villains. You could return them. Rob them. Beat them. Return them by demanding a ransom. Sell them to slave traders. Sacrifice them to some evil deity, etc... It was all up to the player.

What happens if a large chunk of players are sacrificing or selling into slavery? The game keeps track of this. So it can react by spawning appropriate content.

The cult of the evil deity is growing stronger. So spawn a higher percentage of followers. The town NPCs are spawned with pitchforks, clubs, and torches. They generate quests and jobs that are weighted towards cracking down on this cult or freeing slaves.

Those merchants you bump into aren't getting robbed now. They are afraid of the cult and need your protection! They are afraid to walk alone, or you can't let their deliveries get into the hands of that cult. Are you in that cult? Then you just found your next sacrifice alone in the woods. :)

Everything was random and flexible and apart of the same system. Everything was aware of the state of the world and could react to it and change it. Everything that happened could change the state of the content for the other players and it was player driven to begin with.

I hacked this up in my basement when I was 22 and knew half of what I know now. I'm sure a bigger, real MMO could try something similar. You just need a little data structure that says who/what/where/why/when and then to make everything aware of it. Even NPC chatter can be gossip about player deeds.

#32 hannesnisula   Members   -  Reputation: 1010

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:00 PM

They should stop making all these easy games for casual gamers with instant rewards. That would be a good start.

#33 noizex   Members   -  Reputation: 855

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:31 PM


An MMO is just a graphical MUD with a bigger playerbase.

Most early MMOs has their roots in MUDs (Meridian59, Camlelot, EQ ?), what is quite interesting is, that MUDs had often world builders (limited to certain players/admins), a way to alter the world dynamically. This was almost completely lost from the transition from MUD to MMORPG.


Thats a very good point. Not many seem to remember that most (if not all) MUDs had a staff (wizards, creators) that worked on new features or expanding the game world and that it was done dynamically, without strict release cycle. Things were done and deployed on the fly (depends on a MUD type, but most drivers/mudlibs allowed this). Somehow from a dynamically expanded game world that introduced unknown changes that had to be discovered by players we went into same-for-all experience with strict releases (expansions) that are consumed by most active players in 1/100 of time that took to create it. A pity really.

#34 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:22 PM

Thats a very good point. Not many seem to remember that most (if not all) MUDs had a staff (wizards, creators) that worked on new features or expanding the game world and that it was done dynamically, without strict release cycle. Things were done and deployed on the fly (depends on a MUD type, but most drivers/mudlibs allowed this). Somehow from a dynamically expanded game world that introduced unknown changes that had to be discovered by players we went into same-for-all experience with strict releases (expansions) that are consumed by most active players in 1/100 of time that took to create it. A pity really.

That stuff never really went away. We had BBS doors that did that (LORD 2), and full multiplayer graphical RPGs. Those features just weren't advertised as hard. Posted Image There was a big MMO sub community in Neverwinter Nights, It was like having a whole bunch of free MMOs to play on. Find whatever one suited your preferences, or start your own. Just the mainstream MMO games turned into those treadmills to nowhere.

There must be some Second Life communities that have thought up some good designs?

Edited by Daaark, 29 November 2012 - 09:22 PM.


#35 Lord Darkshayde   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:39 PM

Too massive for so few content

The designer will never be able to generate enough content to cope with the population of the game. For example if you are supposed to destroy some computer terminals, but some other people are there and destroyed them first, you are forced sit there until they rematerialized, so you could destroy them again. Bottlenecks.


Obviously you haven't played Guild Wars 2. There the player can effectively solo the whole game while still gaining experience from assisting (or being assisted) in killing an enemy that may be just a tad too tough for one person to handle. Also, the interact-able objects for the most part are specific to the player, so even if you and another person are doing the same quest to destroy X amount of objectives you can either destroy objectives with the other person (while not in party, but still getting credit towards your quest) or for certain cases you can interact with a "sparkly" that someone just used without causing the "wait to play" aspect.

Procedural scramblers

Procedural generation could help the designer. But the problem with this content is that the designer is limited with a given set of parts that match together. Basically he is just scrambling pieces of terrain, buildings, characters, items, quests, dialogs, etc. After playing a few times the player will find out that the game is always the same, just things are placed in different positions. And the player will focus on finding where did the useful pieces fall, like in a hide and seek game, making the game repetitive. If you go to the extreme of procedural generation, the world will become too weird for the player to understand.


Once again, GW2 has helped to solve this problem by making the storyline of each character take a different path depending on your choices when you create the character. Sure, there are only a finite number of quest-lines in this manner, but the ability to alter the path your hero takes (including your choice of Order) still helps to break the monotony when you wish to start over again.

Perpetual tutorial

So to avoid bottlenecks there must be more roads, then the complexity of the world increases. Now, the designer is required to ease the gameplay with guided tours thru the world, but in increasingly complex worlds this is being taken to the extreme of transforming the whole game experience into the longest tutorials. Basically you get a message that tells you to go somewhere and do something. You do this, you get a pat on the back, then you're told to go do something else. Ad infinitum.


Sorry, but this just sounds like you hate the style of MMOs altogether. Fetch quests and their like are an integral part of being an adventurer in almost any MMO as they not only gain you rewards from completion, but they also gain you experience from the grind to complete them. Also to be noted, once again GW2 has made this a non-issue for the most part as their quest system allows for you to help a variety of people in the world by completing not just one, but multiple objectives towards assisting them. There, the player gets to decide just how they want to proceed through the game, not always following the same boring type of quest over and over.

Solutions?

Is people actually interested in seen an overcrowded game? Maybe having overly crowded games just make them real in all the wrong ways. Maybe it's the ambition of game designers that actually turned into bad design, something that we are realizing until now that technology is capable of taking us to this extreme. And maybe MMOs should be more single-player. Even if the game is an MMO, you should be able to play alone and affect your own copy of the world. You could still invite your friends to play in your copy of the world to socialize, which to me it's the important feature of an MMO.


First off the correct way to ask that question is "ARE people actually interested in being in an overcrowded game?", and the answer is a resounding YES! People that play MMOs (which let us remember means Massively Multiplayer Online) do so just for this fact. some have the intent of exploring the world with friends or even strangers (who many times become friends) while others are simply there to grief other players just because it is the only way they can be hateful to other human beings without getting their asses kicked because in reality they feel their lives suck (not passing judgment, but you know who you are...). The numbers that WoW, GW2, FFXI, Everquest, and many others put up are not a fluke of bad design, they are a social setting where people can escape to because the real world just blows.

So in conclusion, we are not ushering in an era of "bad design" we are merely exploring another avenue of interactive entertainment which for many is a necessity to have any manner of social life whatsoever. So while you posted this as a topic for debate it feels more like a gripe with a genre you either don't understand or just don't enjoy. Either way go enjoy the next HALO: Call Of Battlefield Of Honor 13 and allow those of us who truly appreciate the genre for the hard work and effort it takes to make such an immense gaming experience to begin with.

#36 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2664

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:00 AM

I disagree with all four points in the original post.
  • The amount of content needs to be enough for each player's whole playing experience from a trial account to a cancelled subscription; as locations can be either instanced or shared by many players, content can be stretched too thin in time, but not in space.
    If there's enough content for a few players, there is enough content for many players, with two exceptions: player-owned land etc. might require a qualitatively larger world (e.g. adding railroads or highways or stargates to keep travel times in check) to accomodate a larger population, and occasionally some places could be too crowded to operate normally (but it's perfectly normal and expected).
  • If simple procedural generation modifies content in superficial ways, it's always better than exact repetition and bad procedural generation.
    Good game rules generate fresh tactical and strategical challenges from small changes of scenery, monster power, etc. (questions like "is it going to kill me?" and "where can I run?" never cease to be interesting), and procedural generation could be taken further.
  • Unless the designers introduce railroading in what should be an open-ended experience, telling the player things the character is supposed to know (e.g. the location and schedule of important events) or things that he might not have learned yet (e.g. in which market locations he can sell what loot) is just useful guidance.
  • Socializing is the opposite of solipsistic private copies of the world. The only advantage of a MMO over a single player RPG is the interaction with other people, and MMO designs will (or should...) continue to sacrifice everything else to make friendly and unfriendly interactions with other players more fun.

Produci, consuma, crepa

#37 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:32 PM

One aspect that I think is being emphasized too much in this conversation is the need for one huge world for many players to explore.

An MMO can still have a feeling of open-world without having a massive over-map that takes hours to traverse. From my experience (I don't play MMO's, but had friends who were very addicted to them) players don't like spending half their time going from one point to another. So from that perspective, lets say we get rid of that.

Nearly all MMO's have different servers and some form of level streaming to help maintain the amount of content thats viewed by players at any one time. If you break it down into a smaller level, it could be easier to maintain; not only in regards to content but also cost to the developer. So then every level that is played could be maintained content. Again, if we take that approach, we can get rid of over-populated quests.

If you create something like a hub in which players interact before forming teams and tackling quests, then you are basically creating a more stream-lined instances system like in WoW. If you create faster, more intense action in the game and take the grind away for leveling, leaving only the instances with smaller teams, you create an MMO system that takes less of a toll on servers and content creation, thus minimizing cost.

Then again, this method of instanced action stemming from a central hub could also be used to explain nearly all FPS multiplayer games. Posted Image

I guess it's all in the way you perceive games. I see Call of Duty as an MMO just as much as World of Warcraft since they both have addictive game-play with leveling and as you progress, you get better gear. And it all really boils down to playing games with friends.

So yeah...pretty much if a game; any game, is online, has a decently large community, and some form of matchmaking where you could play with strangers, than isn't it an MMO?

Edited by DaveTroyer, 30 November 2012 - 01:34 PM.

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#38 Lord Darkshayde   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:09 PM

@DaveTroyer I agree wholeheartedly with your idea of a hub system where players just go into instances of a dungeon (or similar area) to play together and given the right game concept/setting this would work beautifully. However, I feel a small correction is necessary...

I guess it's all in the way you perceive games. I see Call of Duty as an MMO just as much as World of Warcraft since they both have addictive game-play with leveling and as you progress, you get better gear. And it all really boils down to playing games with friends.

So yeah...pretty much if a game; any game, is online, has a decently large community, and some form of matchmaking where you could play with strangers, than isn't it an MMO?


This is kind of wrong. The actual definition of an MMO is: A massively multiplayer online game. A computer game in which a large number of players can simultaneously interact in a persistent world.

The main word there is simultaneously. A game is only an MMO if a large group of players (which I take to mean more than 32 to 64 at a time as is the case of COD, Battlefield, etc...) are all playing on the same field at the same time, regardless of whether they are all in the same exact area at once. MMOs are about not only exploring the world with your friends, but being able to communicate with virtually anyone in the world no matter where you are at. Other than that I love the ideas you proposed here and like I said, that could work well in another game type, but not really fitting for a true MMO.

Edited by Lord Darkshayde, 30 November 2012 - 07:11 PM.


#39 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:14 AM

Lord DarkShayde, MMO is a buzzword. MMO doesn't make a difference when you only ever meet a few players at a time in any given session, and it's all instanced anyways. If your party enters a dungeon and gets it's own private instance, what difference does the MMO part make? You might as well be playing a something like Icewind Dale at a Lan Party.

What difference does it make if there are 64 or 6400 if I never see these guys? They are in other zones, doing other quests, and when I come across them, they are just passing by on the road on their to or from town. They extra players really don't add anything to the experience.

It's like an amusement part. They are just other people waiting in line to ride the repeating quests. The level reqs are just a replacement for the 'you must be THIS tall' signs. ;)

#40 cronocr   Members   -  Reputation: 752

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:48 PM

I'm silently reading all the great contributions to this post, thanks guys! :)

And now I found this recent article. Quote: "Production Problems Made it Tough to Find the Fun" ... "We really underestimated how long things would take to get right, and how much would have to be invested in... the core loops and making it fun."
 

 





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