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Old 10-04-2007, 07:46 AM   #1
Xerihae
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MMO Excuses?

I was reading the beta forums for Tabula Rasa today and came across something I think is a bit of a pearl of wisdom from someone a little sick of MMOs:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spud_Lover @ Tabula Rasa Beta forums
I cancelled CoH/V ... First time since release ... 42 paid months down the drain.

I cancelled WoW ... Big whoop they reskinned Night Elves.

I WAS hoping that TR would take their place ... And while it has lots of potential, and the delay of release for a couple weeks is a step in the right direction ... They simply can't change/fix enough in those couple weeks to make it worth paying for.

Then I thought to myself ... "Self ... You know what THE REAL problem is ???"

MMOs have been hiding behind the "it doesn't need to be good because we're constantly changing it" excuse for too long now.

All I see is that the people who make MMOs are incapable of making a good, fun, replayable game. I mean MMOs (for all the mystique and hype) are no better (entertainemnt wise) than single player games, and most come up far short by comparison ... Where they differ is in the social aspect of playing with other people online.

Well ... Back in 1996, Blizzard put out a game that was good, fun, replayable, and provided an option to interact with other people ... Diablo. And in 2000 they took it to the next level with Diablo II and then its expansion Lord of Destruction.

I played the hell out of those games from 1996 through April of 2004 (when CoH launched). And ever since I've been searching for the same level of entertainment from a game ... ANY game, MMO or not ... And have yet to find it.

Guild Wars (just a little bit ironic) comes the closest ... And I still do play it from time to time and will definitely get Guild Wars II when it comes out.

So ultimately, last night I decided that all MMOs can rot until they get their act together.
Now I didn't play Diablo much myself, I was mostly into RTS around that sort of time. I do think, however, there may be something to his point about MMOs hiding behind the "we're constantly changing" excuse. Most of the ones I've played recently, Tabula Rasa included, have done little to keep my interest and just seem to be the same clones of each other. If they were MUDs I'd call them stock ROM with a couple of extra bits.

So what do you think? Are MMO developers hiding behind that excuse? Should they be doing more to innovate rather than just trying to make the next WoW clone with a different IP license? (Read: Lord of the Rings Online) Is there really any point in playing a multiplayer game when the game itself sucks, just because of the social aspect?
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:05 AM   #2
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Re: MMO Excuses?

Many graphicals and many text-based games hide behind that excuse. Most are indeed nothing more than clones of one another with little to distinguish themselves other than their "theme", itself a variant of some cliches.

With graphicals, the phrase you often hear used is "giving the player something they've never seen before." That's entirely accurate but the phrase isn't complete. It should read "giving the player something they've never seen before but certainly have played before."

Heh, that's why most of the games I play are nearly a decade old. They got it right then and since that time it's just been repeats with prettier pictures (and often worse gameplay).

Take care,

Jason
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:34 AM   #3
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Re: MMO Excuses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
Many graphicals and many text-based games hide behind that excuse. Most are indeed nothing more than clones of one another with little to distinguish themselves other than their "theme", itself a variant of some cliches.
It's risky to make something too different. There is a reason a lot of games are so similar. When it comes to MMO games I believe it is also important to remember that they are abstractions of the real world, or some fictional world atleast. So naturally many things in them will be very similar. Together these games define a set of "tools" that can be used to create new games. E.g experience points of some kind seem to be used in many MMOs. Same with guilds, raids, and chat channels. Usually new MMOs introduce atleast something new to further the genre.

When it comes to excusing poor quality of a game I believe the issue might be mainly that they target such big audience. With the amount of content some of those games have it is amazing they has as high quality as they have. I've also noticed people tend to compare MMOs with the first MMO they played. Usually that first MMO just seem to get better and better each time they talk about it .

Last edited by Aeran : 10-04-2007 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:07 AM   #4
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Re: MMO Excuses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
It's risky to make something too different. There is a reason a lot of games are so similar.
Aye, originality is a double-edged sword. Players often ask for something new, but what they usually mean is "Just like my old game, except with a few new shiny toys". One of the nice things about developing my mud as a hobby is that I can afford to take such risks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
I've also noticed people tend to compare MMOs with the first MMO they played. Usually that first MMO just seem to get better and better each time they talk about it .
Very true, for both text-based and graphical muds.
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:29 AM   #5
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Re: MMO Excuses?

Someone else posted on that thread and whilst I won't quote the whole thing cause it's basically an essay, I found this bit interesting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonse @ Tabula Rasa Beta forums
And, no. Games will not evolve to become better, they will evolve to become bigger. You will get 6 new instances offering an extention of a storyline with new armour and new guns that look different but are still bound to follow the underlying code. They may optimise code all they like, but they rarely ever replace it. So, a year down the line it runs smoother on hardware that is now so overpowered for the 2-3 year old code it's not funny and barely necessary. The hardware performance gives far more gain that optimising code does.

So, 6 years down the line, 3 expansions later providing 3 new storylines and 3 new worlds and a billion new items, you are still playing the same game code. Ok, there's now 1000 new craftable items but you will still be crafting them in exactly the same way.

In 6 years time, are you going to be sick of walking up to a crafting terminal and adding a mod to something for the millionth time? Mod a gun,. mod an armour, the process is identical. Walk up to the terminal and press "T". Stick in the item, stick in the recipe, press the button. click the Tab and grab the completed item. How many times can you do that before you just don't want to do it anymore?
I find it interesting because it's one of the biggest differences I can see between a MUD and a MMO. On many MUDs I've played, the entire system has changed over the years because they re-did or drastically improved the underlying code. With most MMOs I've played, however, all they tend to do after release is exactly what that quote illustrates.

If you're interested in reading his entire rant (WARNING: Long!) then click here. If you have the patience then take a look, I found it fascinating even if I didn't completely agree with some of his points.
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Old 10-04-2007, 11:02 AM   #6
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Re: MMO Excuses?

I think I've said it before in another thread or maybe it was in a PM that very few games focus on game design now, and players focus less on what is available NOW than what WILL BE available, especially in MMOs. For me, I'm not a waiter. I want to like the game that I'm playing and new content is welcome at spaced out interval. I hate the constant cycle of nerfing, unnerfing, re-nerfing, more nerfing, new systems added, old systems removed, etc. that goes with several of these games. It's very traumatic to the people who actually LIKE the game, and it's traumatic to players when gameplay changes drastically.

I have a problem with the quoted post above just because I think that's NOT the way to go about it. "Crafting in the same old way", as long as it's a GOOD system (rather than just a click of a button), is perfectly fine with me. DO NOT give me a brand new system to tinker with every two or three years if your system is already good. I don't want it. I don't need it. The constant release of half-done games and patches has created a bad precedence in the gaming community as a whole, imo. If you're going to make major changes to your game, GREAT!! Do it before release! If you're going to add a major system, GREAT!! Make sure that it's designed to mesh with your world and won't end up crushing or completely changing your economy.

That may just be me, though. I would rather pick up a new game than have a game that is constantly tinkered with.
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