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Lets talk MMORPGs, I want your opinion

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March 2, 2008 4:13:31 PM

Hey guys, this is my first post here, and I'm interested in what you all think of current gen MMORPGs, and why you think what you do about them, and also what type of games you play. Personally I think they mostly suck, and I play pretty much every genre of game, FPS, RTS, RPG. My first MMORPG was a game called Asheron's Call and I really do think it was one of the better MMORPGs out there, I mean sure it had ugly graphics, but I've come to the conclusion that it did a lot of things right after playing so many other MMORPGs. Keep in mind i'm not trying to get you to play Asheron's Call, I think the developers completely screwed the game up trying to make it more like Everquest which was pretty popular at the time.

Here are some of the things it did right compared to World of Warcraft which is what most games clone their game mechanics off of:
Character Creation. In Asheron's Call when you created a new character, you would start out by selecting a race like most MMORPGs, and then you'd move on to the attribute selection screen where you'd allocate 270 points into strength, coordination, quickness, endurance, focus, and self with 100 maximum of each attribute. These attributes would affect different skills. After that you would move on to the skill selection menu where you'd have 50 points to train new skills and specialize them if you want. The great thing about this is that you could really go whatever path you wanted, you could specialize war magic and train missile defense, melee defense, and bow, or if you wanted, specialize in jumping and running and train whatever else you like. The system offered freedom to the player to create whatever kind of character they wanted, whereas a game like World of Warcraft would let you pick your race, your class, and your look. It didn't go any deeper than that. After that you picked your look, your name, and your starting town (in WoW your starting town is defined by your race).

In World of Warcraft during character creation you would go no further than selecting a race, a class, and a look. You didn't even get to pick your starting town, the game picked it for you.

Character Development. In AC you had your attributes and skills and your levels. With each level as with most games the XP to level up increased. With each kill you were awarded XP into your level and into a pool of XP. The pool of XP could be spent to raise your attributes or skills in any way you like. But skills also raised when they were being used, albeit much slower. As you leveled you would gain additional skill credits which could be used to train even more skills. This allowed the player to develop their character in whatever way they wanted.

Compare this to World of Warcraft where your class dictates what you can do and how you play the game. The extent of character development involves buying new skills, but only non combat crafting/gathering skills, and skills raising as you use them. You can't be a jumping or running master in WoW, everyone runs and jumps the same speed and height, and you certainly can't be an archer that buffs itself or a mage whose a master of evading/dodging missile and melee attacks.

Spells. Asheron's Call had a really great magic system where there were buffs/debuffs for each element, skill, and attribute with levels of 1 - 7. The best part about it was unfortunately removed in a later patch. Basically you had to research spells, you would combine different components in a menu to attempt to learn a new spell. The components of a spell would determine the level of the spell (the level could be identified by how large the charging up animation was), the words spoken when it was cast, and the animation played after it was finished charging. From this, you could determine the components of a spell by watching another player cast it. It allowed the player to think and experiment. Alternatively players could just hunt for spell scrolls (monsters dropped them randomly) and learn them that way (the scrolls would autolearn the spell and the scroll would be destroyed).

Compare to WoW where you buy new skills/spells from a trainer, easymode.

Quests. In AC, quests are more than just simplistic kill tasks with instructions that a mentally retarded child could figure out. The quests tie in to the game lore, you hear about them through rumors from town criers, and sometimes NPCs that want you to retrieve some lost item of theirs from a dangerous dungeon. The rewards matter, and some of them are of use to you for years after you've gotten them. You don't do quests because you have to in order to level up, although there are quests that give experience rewards, but rather because the quest has an extremely useful item that you might want, or for a new useful spell such as something that teleports you to a new island. The interesting thing is that you aren't even told what to do, the player is left to figure things out for himself/herself by looking at the previous lore and other quests. Exploration plays an important part in questing in AC.

However, the absolute best thing about Questing in Asheron's Call were the live events where the developers would play main story characters and the players would have a chance to change what happens. On the PvP server I remember one of the most evil clans ended up joining an evil story characters allegiance played by a developer. The fact that the players actually took part in the story at some times and pushed it in the direction they wanted made the game far more interesting and immersive than anything else I've ever played. There were even epic one time quests where sometimes only one person would get the reward.

Compare it to World of Warcraft where quests exist for the sole purpose of leveling up and are intended to be done one after another. There is no deep story behind them, and they hardly tie into the game world. Each quest you do will tend to make the last quest item you got worthless, and you only do them because you have to.

Combat. Asheron's Call combat was a bit more than a select target and begin auto attack. Players could dodge spells and arrows and evade melee attacks by jumping away, maybe onto a building or something. This allowed a players skill to be a defining factor in combat. Your level helped to increase your damage and the chance to evade, but that didn't matter so much because if a level 50 was really good at a dodging spells and arrows, he/she could take down a level 100.

Compare to World of Warcraft where level, gear, class, and template determine 95% of the outcome of a fight and the other 5% is your ability to press buttons in the right order. You can't even dodge attacks by moving out of the way. This is my biggest gripe with current MMORPGs. If a 9 year old MMORPG lets me dodge attacks by moving out of the way, theres no excuse as to why a current gen one doesn't.

PvP. Asheron's Call gives you a choice between PvP and "White" Non PvP servers. If you choose a "white" server, you have two choices if you want to fight other players. You can go /pklite where there is no penalty for dieing, or you can shed your protection and become red. If you become red, you can be attacked at any place any time, and you drop a certain amount of items of the highest value proportional to your level when you're killed by another player. You can of course become white again on the non PvP servers. When you are red, only other red players can attack you, and when you're /pklite, only other pklites can attack you. On the PvP server, everyone is red always, and when they die, they turn white for 5 minutes where nobody can attack them. There used to be no safety except with guild mates on the PvP server until the developers ruined it and added houses with barriers that gave people a safe place to be.

Compare to WoW where on PvP servers your PvP is restricted to those of the other faction, and there is no reward or risk when you fight another player. You die and you lose nothing. PvP is meaningless. WoW doesn't even give players a true PvP choice.

Sorry for the big post, but I have a problem with current gen MMORPGs, they're far from what they could be. I guess what I'm trying to say is that player freedom makes MMORPGs so much better and if you disagree you're a liberal commie pinko.
March 2, 2008 7:49:08 PM

I think the point you're missing with WoW is that it appeals to a much larger audience than just pen and paper D&D fans. While a game like AC sounds pretty fun, most like me just do not have the time to invest in such an endevour. A game that is fairly simple, straight forward and easy to pickup and go with is more appealing to the masses. Even with WoW many people still complain about the "time sink" elements of the game. A MMO like you describe would only be worse, probably enough so that most simply won't play - thus why they don't exist.
March 2, 2008 9:10:44 PM

purplerat said:
I think the point you're missing with WoW is that it appeals to a much larger audience than just pen and paper D&D fans. While a game like AC sounds pretty fun, most like me just do not have the time to invest in such an endevour. A game that is fairly simple, straight forward and easy to pickup and go with is more appealing to the masses. Even with WoW many people still complain about the "time sink" elements of the game. A MMO like you describe would only be worse, probably enough so that most simply won't play - thus why they don't exist.

How does that work? In a game like World of Warcraft the ability to compete with other players depends entirely upon how much time you've spent grinding levels and grinding instances for gear. I don't see how a more player skill oriented MMORPG is a bad thing for actual casual players. Your "time" argument just doesn't work since WoW is designed to make players spend the maximum amount of time in order to compete with other players whereas a game like AC allows a player to spend half or less of the time than other players and still be able to kill them. By the way, have you actually played a game like AC?

Edit: By the way, AC was quite simple, and the UI was easy to use. It was a game that appealed to power users and the technically retarded as well.

Edit 2: Ok, so you're saying we can't have nice things because people are dumb. Awesome.

Edit 3: I should probably throw out my keyboard since moving out of the way to dodge attacks is too much to ask from the masses. Maybe we should just let the character decide when to attack and move too. No point in actually controlling characters, right? Games are just movies, except you can control them, maybe you shouldn't though, because thats way too hard.
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March 2, 2008 9:59:11 PM

Sorry if I've personally offended you in some Scott. My point is simply that Blizzard did a wise thing in making a MMORPG that appealed to the average gamer, not just the hardcore role player. I'm not entirelly thrilled with WoW's combat system either and I'm looking forward to AoC this summer. I just hope that game doesn't require some sort of in depth devotion to your charcter and/or the game lore in order to be successful.
March 2, 2008 10:00:47 PM

I've played quite a few different mmos from wow which I still play on and off today through to Anarchy Online (my first mmo), Auto Assault, RF Online, Eve and several others.

I'm quite biased towards AO. Going back to what was mentioned above I really enjoyed the allocating skill points every time you levelled. There was a definite "skill" towards allocating things correctly combined with different gear in order to make your level 10 guy fight more like a level 20. With the recent expansions within it, it was possible to get a level 200 pet cast as a level 60. AO made life awkward though, it was great when I was a student and had the time to spend on it but once you get to a certain level solo progression is so slow to be none existant and you can easily spend several hours just trying to form a team.

Eve is still an intriguing game, it has some skill based learning but just seems to be a huge time sink. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to do anything remotely useful within it without first spending 2 years researching and mining crap. If it provided a more action orientated path that you actually stood a reasonable chance within, it could possibly be one of the greats.

RF Online, pure grind fest, beyond any grind you have ever grinded before (I got to 220 in AO before it got easy so I have some experience). But its saving grace was the world pvp, every 8 hours the most lucrative mining areas were up for grabs. Whichever race won got the mines until the next 8 hour battle arrived. These were huge fights, I'd say 90% of the online population turned up, its the only game where several hundred characters could be on screen at a time and not really lag to death (it wasn't none existant but it certainly was better than any other game I've played). It was also the first game I played where it was full on pvp all the time. There was no customisation a level 40 of any race looked exactly the same, even the "epic" stuff looked the same it just had a different name.

RF also had the best gold farmer policy I ever saw. After playing it for a month or so they posted a video online where a bunch of GMs teleported a group of farmers to a private island. Spawned themselves some huge mechs and slapped the farmers around for a few minutes before banning them, although the song they wrote was badly out of tune it was still great.

Auto Assault was also an interesting idea. Mad max as a mmo. Unfortunately it turned into hold down fire and drive at full speed towards wherever you were going picking up every bit of loot from all the buildings you managed to destroy. There was also next to no social functions, it was like playing a massively single player game where you occasionally saw people drive past that weren't an NPC (not that you could always tell).

Examples aside, I do get frustrated with the get the best loot and win all mentality in MMOs. In WoW I've found myself starting to attack and then reading a webpage for a bit on quite a few occasions... its one of the "benefits" of playing a tank class. Sure things die more easily when I'm paying attention but its nice to have a distraction. WoW pvp does have some intricacies although to be fair it is mostly gear and class. In short if you're a hunter or a warlock you'll probably kill everything.

I don't mind classes like that but theres something wrong when if theres say two of the love child classes fighting and healing each other that it takes a good effort by most of the opposing team to get rid of them.

When all is said and done, a large part of MMOs are social. I played AO for many years after I was bored with it simply due to the people I met on it. I eventually left because everyone else that I played with did the same. Which leads me onto another thing that annoys me about the current crop of MMOs. Multiple servers. What a cop out... its massively multiplayer, chuck 10million people into the same world and let the players sort it out. Don't limit it to 1000 on each server cluster.

I don't see things being much better in the next gen of mmos that are arriving soon. They all seem similar just different back stories and better graphics. Its hard to see where to go next that would solve these problems although Tabula Rasa and Pirates of the Carribean have shown promise recently.
March 2, 2008 10:01:54 PM

I'm far from a roleplayer, I just want gameplay mechanics that are deeper than usual, what we had 9 years ago. I think its ridiculous that games are being devolved and downgraded from what we used to have.
March 3, 2008 2:42:21 AM

MU ONLINE
its free and its a grind fest unlimited levels crazy items you just have to check it out!!!
March 3, 2008 6:19:12 AM

It could be possible that its by trent, im sure alot of us have played MMORPGS ranging from years ago.. so to us nothing can compete v the way they where.. but WOW might be alot of peoples one and only MMO experience.. so they feel this is the way it should be?
March 3, 2008 7:03:57 AM

Hellgate got the best free online multiplayer experience.. FREE
March 3, 2008 12:43:17 PM

db4s said:
MU ONLINE
its free and its a grind fest unlimited levels crazy items you just have to check it out!!!

How in the hell is a grind fest a good thing?
March 3, 2008 1:03:41 PM

Scottc

While I appreciate your concern about deep game mechanics and developer-driven storylines, I think that these elements are not the basis of what most people are looking for in an MMO. I've played a few MMOs and I liked Lineage II the best, by far.

Here' what I liked about L2: It was utter, raw anarchy. The devs set up the framework, but all of the action is generated by the players. Political drama, economic concerns, and inter (intra) clan warfare provided all the story that we needed.

The chief problem is the accessibility aspect - if you did not know anyone in-game, it could be a real drag.

Other aspects of the game that you would hate - simple character development, lots of grinding - those elements are actually neccessary to the L2 style of play. Simple character development is designed to maintain balance between players in a heavy PvP game and the grind encourages party and clan cooperation and interaction. So, the "dumbed down" aspects of these games that you are complaining about are actually highly calculated measures to keep things interesting and balanced in a social MMO environment.

Don't get me wrong - I dig on complex RPGs with tons of stat micro-management, but I feel that those game mechanics work better on a smaller scale - like in NWN for example, which I play with my friends when I get the chance.
March 3, 2008 1:57:24 PM

I think the first poster sums it up perfectly. I too played Asheron's Call in the early day and I had so much more fun than with WOW so many years later.

For years I tried to explain what the first poster has stated so clearly.


I got WOW as soon as it came out and after 3 months I never played it again. The box is still sitting on my shelf, untouched.

Asheron's Call had mystery, skill and freedom.

WOW felt like everything was done for you and it was just a grind. Even PVP in wow felt like griding.





Apartments Estepona
March 3, 2008 2:56:45 PM

I'm all for better game mechanics than what WoW has. I quit FFXI after 10 mins because I couldn't jump, how lame is that. Like I hope Age of Conan will be all it's supposed to be. However the idea of starting with 270 points to allocate and then having to be concerned with re-allocating points each level along with in between and so on is just too much for average players (along with everything else required for in depth role playing games). It becomes too intimedating for a regular player to just jump into such a game because you're often so far behind every body else.

A perfect personal example is this past summer when some friends at work talked me into starting up a game of D&D with them. I've never played D&D or any other pen and paper role playing game before but I'm pretty smart and usually pretty good at any type of games I've ever tried to play. However after 4 hours of just initially setting the game up (creating characters, buying items/spells etc) I was pretty bored. When we actually started a campaign it was hard for me to really get interested because I felt hopelessly behind everybody else who'd been playing this types of games for years and were all into all the lore and what not.
The point being that one of the real downfalls to "serious" RPGs is alienating casual players. What is appealing about WoW is that for a brand new player, once they get past the grinding aspect, can easily be on par with people who've been playing since launch. There are many aspects of WoW that do suck, but the appeal to new players is what allows it to continue to grow. For most MMORPGs there's a feeling that if you weren't playing the game at or near launch then there is little appeal to joining a year or two later. So as old players leave there are not enough new players to keep it going.
March 3, 2008 3:47:43 PM

I had a huge response written up and I accidentally closed the window ><

Have you played Guild Wars? (designed by some ex-blizz employees)

Not nearly as much grind as WoW, the game's PvE is a mission based system, with in-game cutscenes during the missions, you don't really go from mission to mission, but you can, and pretty much level as you progress, there are lots of other towns that you can do quests out in the wilderness. The game needs more of a singleplayer side, because you pretty much need a group everywhere (you can take NPCs with you though and they do a decent job).

There isn't nearly as much grind as wow, the "high end" gear is just for asthetics.

The PvP is pretty good, the serious PvP is in Guild battles (they do alot of big money tournaments). There are quite a few pvp options.

You pick a character with a primary profession, then a choose a secondary, each with their own attributes, primary profs having a special attribute (such as a monk's Divine Favor = heals target on cast).

I've never played AC, so I can't compare the two. Sounds like it's a bit more complex than GW.
March 3, 2008 5:59:43 PM

Chazwuzzer said:
Scottc

While I appreciate your concern about deep game mechanics and developer-driven storylines, I think that these elements are not the basis of what most people are looking for in an MMO. I've played a few MMOs and I liked Lineage II the best, by far.

Here' what I liked about L2: It was utter, raw anarchy. The devs set up the framework, but all of the action is generated by the players. Political drama, economic concerns, and inter (intra) clan warfare provided all the story that we needed.

This is great, we need more of this in MMORPGs. PvP conflict is important, there needs to be something to fight over, and I do agree, it provides a great story. You can have that along with a dev driven storyline as well though, as there was in AC, it's not one or the other. The PvP conflict tied in with some of the story in the game. At one point there was some shard holding some evil character imprisoned and the players could choose to defend the shard or attempt to break it, and that really was great for the PvPers and roleplayers. It worked for everyone.

Other aspects of the game that you would hate - simple character development, lots of grinding - those elements are actually neccessary to the L2 style of play. Simple character development is designed to maintain balance between players in a heavy PvP game and the grind encourages party and clan cooperation and interaction. So, the "dumbed down" aspects of these games that you are complaining about are actually highly calculated measures to keep things interesting and balanced in a social MMO environment. said:
Other aspects of the game that you would hate - simple character development, lots of grinding - those elements are actually neccessary to the L2 style of play. Simple character development is designed to maintain balance between players in a heavy PvP game and the grind encourages party and clan cooperation and interaction. So, the "dumbed down" aspects of these games that you are complaining about are actually highly calculated measures to keep things interesting and balanced in a social MMO environment.

I don't see why it has to be simple, Asheron's Call has shown that a complex system can work well.

purplerat said:
I'm all for better game mechanics than what WoW has. I quit FFXI after 10 mins because I couldn't jump, how lame is that. Like I hope Age of Conan will be all it's supposed to be. However the idea of starting with 270 points to allocate and then having to be concerned with re-allocating points each level along with in between and so on is just too much for average players (along with everything else required for in depth role playing games). It becomes too intimedating for a regular player to just jump into such a game because you're often so far behind every body else.

A perfect personal example is this past summer when some friends at work talked me into starting up a game of D&D with them. I've never played D&D or any other pen and paper role playing game before but I'm pretty smart and usually pretty good at any type of games I've ever tried to play. However after 4 hours of just initially setting the game up (creating characters, buying items/spells etc) I was pretty bored. When we actually started a campaign it was hard for me to really get interested because I felt hopelessly behind everybody else who'd been playing this types of games for years and were all into all the lore and what not.
The point being that one of the real downfalls to "serious" RPGs is alienating casual players. What is appealing about WoW is that for a brand new player, once they get past the grinding aspect, can easily be on par with people who've been playing since launch. There are many aspects of WoW that do suck, but the appeal to new players is what allows it to continue to grow. For most MMORPGs there's a feeling that if you weren't playing the game at or near launch then there is little appeal to joining a year or two later. So as old players leave there are not enough new players to keep it going.

This skill system worked fine, it was easy for even the most technically inferior person to figure out. It was as simple as picking your skills and then looking at what attributes affected them, and spending points into them. Also, for those who just weren't sure, they had predefined classes that would automatically choose your skills and attributes. Spending XP into skills was as simple as "I can't cast level 6 spells well, I should spend xp in my magic skills", or "I'm not hitting these monsters a lot, I should raise my sword skill". I mean hell I was 10 years old when I first played the game and I got along fine having never even played an MMORPG before. Hell I came onto the PvP server a year after the game was released and I was able to compete right from the start. As a level 30 mage I was killing level 70s who weren't good players. How can you say that a casual player even has a chance in WoW? They have to submit their lives if they want to compete or get good items even. Theres no way in hell a level 30 mage will take down a level 60 in WoW, but I can hop on a level 150 melee and kill a level 275 mage in AC all because I can dodge attacks by *gasp* moving out of the way!

You can't argue that a game that requires you to submit all your time to get anywhere is more friendly towards casual gamers. The reason Dungeons & Dragons didn't work for you was because the game was based entirely on dice rolls, your stats, and your equipment (hey, sounds kinda like World of Warcraft).
March 3, 2008 6:13:00 PM

Scott, I wasn't trying to make this into a WoW vs AC debate. I don't even play WoW any more because I got bored with it. But there is something to be said by the fact that WoW has continued to grow by MILLIONS of paid subscribers each year it's been out, while most other MMOs fizzle out once the initial group of players starts to leave the game. That's why when LOTRO came out they offered lifetime memberships to players at launch. With such a lore/story driven gameplay a game like that isn't going to attract new players even a year after it's launch. Like I said, as far as mechanics I'm all for better than what WoW offers. But you have to realize that WoW is a pretty succesful game and improve off that, not scream that you want an anti-WoW MMORPG.

Quote:
You can't argue that a game that requires you to submit all your time to get anywhere is more friendly towards casual gamers.

Just look at the numbers. No other MMO has ever had even a fraction of the membership that WoW does. It must have some appeal to the casual player. I doubt there are 10 Million hardcore RPG gamers playing WoW.
March 3, 2008 6:43:38 PM

Is George Bush a good American president because the people voted him into office? Just because so many people like it doesn't make WoW a good game, so please stop basing your arguments off it. You're basically telling me we can't have nice MMORPGs because WoW is popular. You're telling me that people are too stupid to handle a good MMORPG, but how do we know this when they haven't even played a good MMORPG?
March 3, 2008 6:57:34 PM

Is George Bush a good American president because the people voted him into office?

No.

However, I think that, getting to your main point, you are getting worked up over the general complaints we PC gamers have about gaming in general. Developers, in chasing the big bucks, often pander to the lowest common denominator. This often leads to the development of 'tard console games in place of intelligent PC games, but the principle applies to MMOs as well. I'm afraid to say that the type of MMO that you prefer has a smaller audience than the competing models. It sucks, I know.

Also, in reference to my post above, I think that having a deep, complex character advancement system would be very hard to manage in a heavy PvP game. Even if you could make a variety of choices, in a super-competetive environment like the L2 servers, the characters would all conform to the most powerful configurations, or perish. I think that the system that you prefer would work better in a game with lots of No-PvP safe zones, so that a configuration not geared toward max power could be played.
March 3, 2008 7:16:07 PM

Do you know what MMO stands for? Massively Multiplayer Online. So yes I would say that a genre which is defined by having a lot of people playing would require that a game have lots of players to be good. You could have the greatest RPG in every other aspect but if you run all over your server all day without seeing anybody then that game sucks. Just because people do not want to invest tons of time into a game doesn't mean they're too dumb to play it. You can bash the grinding aspect of WoW, but at least while you're grinding you're actually playing the game. Spending hours contemplating how to spend 270 skill points just isn't worth it for many people. I'm not even bashing games like that. I would love to have that much free time but I don't. I can turn on WoW at any time and just play; call it grinding or whatever but either way I'm still just playing a game.
Anyways I think you're misplacing your anger in bashing WoW and basically making anybody who likes it out to be dumb. For many years my favorite type of PC game were PC Baseball games that had both great action and sim components (Hardball, High Heat and later MVP Games). These games are gone now but you don't see me bashing games like Madden. I just have to accept that I'm in a minority that developers don't care about and move on.
March 4, 2008 3:52:19 AM

I am by and large with Purplerat's thoughts.

I run a guild that was used to have a 50 years old lady in the game, 12 years old boy in the game, and I introduced WoW to one of my female friends who can't really handle even 20% of the spells offered by this rather simple MMORPG. They all have one thing in common - they enjoy playing the game, they enjoy playing with the people in the game.

Not many people like to go through the hassle and "flexiblity" in character creation. Oblivion for instance gives me that flexibility to allocate this fixed number of point to a set of attributes. I personally - and can speak for some of my friends - do enjoy a simple character creation, choose your race, your class, name etc and start the game straight the way. Let the leveling and gears take care of the attributes.

I think games like WoW is a huge success not because everyone who play this game are retards compare to other hardcore MMORPG games. It has the general appeal to gather people together - from all walks of life (I once had a guildie who pack fish during the day), from all age groups.

And I am not going to list out point-by-point on why I disagree with the OP. While the OP can list out 101 points he thinks other game is better than WoW, I can do likewise.
March 4, 2008 4:10:51 AM

Scottc said:
Is George Bush a good American president because the people voted him into office? Just because so many people like it doesn't make WoW a good game, so please stop basing your arguments off it. You're basically telling me we can't have nice MMORPGs because WoW is popular. You're telling me that people are too stupid to handle a good MMORPG, but how do we know this when they haven't even played a good MMORPG?


Bad bad anology. If Bush was to have the popularity of WoW amongst the MMORPG player base, he would have had a landslide victory during the first election by a great margin. If my memory serves me right, he barely made it to the office. He didn't even win the nationwide popular vote.

Wait, are you referring to his dad instead?
March 4, 2008 6:30:53 AM

Played a few MMO's as well best one I've played to date was Star Wars Galaxies. That said i'm a hugh Star Wars fan and may have been slightly biased. Good game mechanics excellent content player based cities space travel and fps type space combat. That said some combination of whiney played and Sony and the friggen Dev caused major problems in the game. every player wanted to be uber and have the leet pvp skill and if you didnt have them you whined to the Devs and the Dev would get out the Nerf bat and Nerf the leet skill of the day when a slight upward shifting of skill would have leveled the playing field. I liked being a bounty hunter at times i had one of the most powerful classes in the game and other one of the weakest but i just liked playing it. The came WOW and its popularity grew and to try to caputre that market Sony in there genius decided to come out with the New Game Experience if anyone here tried to play through it they can attest to the fact that this when from a skill and strategy based combat sytem to a who can click the fastest which caused 70% of the player base to quit in the first 2 months. Now i did ramble a little there but that was my fav. I tried EQ2 after and couldnt get into it, Auto Assult just wasnt for me, I did try WOW and just felt it was too basic and simplified for my taste, Lord of the Ring Online i played the beta and it was decent, Looked at Saga of heros till Sony stepped up to publish, and am Currently playing Dungeons and Dragons Online it is pretty decent game filled mostly with a more mature type of gamer in a more group orientated play and the built in voice chat is one of the best features any game can have especially a MMO.
March 4, 2008 10:20:18 AM

WoW, AC, Everquest 2, LoTR, Eve Online and the other games you mentioned are all mainstream MMORPGs. In addition to these there are also some alternative MMORPGs. For example, Face of Mankind used to be a very different kind of MMORPG. It didn't have any kind of monsters or skills and attributes. It played like a first person or third person shooter and a new player with impressive combat skills could kill an old player. There were the basic classes of combatant, medic, trader and commander which determined what type of equipment you could use. The economy, missions and other activities were entirely player-driven. You could join one of the ten or so factions and that defined your daily activities. For example, if you joined Law Enforcement Department, you began as a patrol cop who strolled in malls and streets on missions assigned by players with higher "detective" or "commissioner" rank and you could scan people for illegal drugs (players of a criminal faction could produce those), search for most wanted criminals, be on the look-out for any disturbances, stun and arrest people, send them to a prison planet. You could also be assigned missions to patrol the prison planet and make sure that none of the prisoners would try to escape or that no one tried to free them from there. Then there was the army, the mercenaries, three corporations and a few clans with completely different agendas. I know that the army guys had their own spaceship and while it was cruising around, they had all kinds of military drills on the decks. There were no monsters in the game, but actually on rare occasions in a dark corner of some distant colony planet an alien egg would appear and if not discovered by anyone would hatch into an alien that looked very similar to the xenomorph from the movie "Aliens". An alien could rip apart an unfortunate lonely miner in a few seconds and it would usually take many squads of players to take one down. Then there was also trading and production. Absolutely everything from ammo clips, medikits and grenades to weapons, armor and implants had to be produced by the players. For example, to produce one of the most sophisticated automatic rifles in the game, a trader had to visit lots of different planets to mine 10-12 different types of minerals. Then the minerals would have to be processed into 6-8 different raw materials and further into 5-6 components to produce the weapon. The process also involved transportation of minerals from the colonies to Earth or some other planet which had factories capable of processing the minerals. Players who joined one of the three corporations had certain bonuses in mineral extraction, transporation or production. The corporations would compete with each other and sometimes would resort to wars, perhaps getting mercenaries or some other faction on their side.

Alas, too many people are into mainstream MMORPGs and the game I just described was closed down due to lack of paying customers and is now being remade into "Face of Mankind: Rebirth" which will be a much simplified version of the old game. I guess the only good thing about the new game is that it will be completely free, but the new version will be more like Quake or Planetside. There might be some hope for FoM if more people become interested in it. The developers have stated that later they might develop "Face of Mankind: Evolution" and it could be as complex as the original version. The reason they are now simplifying the game is that they don't have a sponsor and want to make the game simple enough to run on cheaper servers and make it free.

Of course, Face of Mankind had its flaws too and they were one of the reasons why it failed. The game was fun when there were lots of players online. After game became pay-to-play the player base diminished and many people often complained there was nothing to do in the game. One of the problems associated with this was lack of missions because in certain factions higher ranking players who could set up missions for lower ranking players were not online at some specific time of the day. There were also some flaws in the design. For example, factions didn't have serious reasons to take over a planet or have war against another faction. You'd think a faction could take over a planet to have a monopoly on some important mineral but many minerals could usually be mined on several different planets. If someone took control of one planet, the traders of other factions would simply mine the mineral on the other planet which was not occupied. Besides that, many people would find it boring patrolling the same planet for many hours with nothing happening and the gameplay could often be just walking regularly from one place to another, sitting around somewhere and chatting with someone.





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Now, to get to the fantasy theme. The game that turned me away from all of the fantasy MMORPGs is Neverwinter Nights 1. NWN 1 plays just like an MMORPG but is much more complex and versatile in many respects if you find a persistent world with great developers. I guess it's more for hardcore RPG gamers, though. What's interesting about NWN is that it has really vast potential and the potential often gets to be realised by the developers. I've seen things in NWN 1 that many MMORPG gamers wouldn't believe: very complex horse-ownership (and riding) system, extremely complex combat system (hundreds of combat moves with animations for each), extensive player and DM driven quests and adventures, complex crafting systems, complex subrace systems (for example being a vampire on a few PWs had very different gameplay) and so on. After NWN 1 all the current mainstream MMORPGS just seem too plain. My only hope is that some future gen MMORPGs might borrow a few key features from NWN games, namely, the Dungeon Master aspect (and the DM client).


March 5, 2008 11:40:23 PM

Baracuda - Yeah! I totally forgot to mention SWG! That game was incredible fun.

Morton - I can't believe that I never heard of this "faces of mankind" game before. It sounds lke it was pretty raw - I might have liked it. I'm totally on board with your NWN analysis. I have a (currently stalled) NWN campaign that I have been running with my old pen-and-paper DnD buds.

And while I'm on the DnD topic, I'd just like to give mad props to the late, great Gary Gygax. That guy's impact on the world is absurdly underestimated.
March 6, 2008 9:16:14 PM

i think aoc, gw2, war, and many other mmos in the making wont ever break 500k subscribers. they just are not that revolutionary

let me clarify one thing: even though wow has 10 million subscribers, you play it on a server (and wow has many, many servers) that usually have 1500-2500 people logged on (depending on what time of the day is), so it is completely same as most of the other mmos that are out there now - for example, even though lotro has like 200k-300k subscribers, each server is handling the same number of players as any wow server - so 10m subsribers means nothing to you, as a gamer.

of course, there are many other games out there and you can DEFINATELY say game A has better graphics, game B has better combat system, game C has better pvp, game D offers more character freedom... etc. but game A will have terrible gameplay, game B will have bad lore, game C will have ugly graphics, game D will have appalling combat...

wow isnt perfect in anything, but all of its parts are at least good.
March 7, 2008 3:27:17 PM

I think WoW's primary strength is that it plays well on low-end hardware. There are too many MMO's that are completely unplayable on a low-end card graphics card, and let's face it, that's what 90% of the computers out there have.
March 7, 2008 3:57:13 PM

yes, and its probably the best game for mac
March 7, 2008 10:09:15 PM

I'm done with MMOs unless they start selling the server side software.

The biggest problem with MMOs is all the other idiots lol
March 8, 2008 12:06:14 PM

vic20 said:
The biggest problem with MMOs is all the other idiots
then dont play MMORPGs - play RPGs!
March 11, 2008 4:01:01 AM

avance70 said:
then dont play MMORPGs - play RPGs!


Thats what I've been doing. Had enough with chat rooms with gaming content. Wake me up when they start concentrating on the games again and not time sinks, member retention and socializing. :sleep: 
March 11, 2008 2:53:47 PM

CannedTurkey said:
I think WoW's primary strength is that it plays well on low-end hardware. There are too many MMO's that are completely unplayable on a low-end card graphics card, and let's face it, that's what 90% of the computers out there have.





Do Not Underestimate CannedTurkey's point.




Tom's published an interview the other day with one of the creators of the Unreal engine - Interesting read if you haven't yet... Anyways, one of the topics was PC gaming in general, and his take on that was that the difference between a low end and high end computer is now large enough that you can no longer create a game that runs on both which is still (graphically) interesting on the better machine. He offers this up as a large reason PC Gaming isn't the force in the industry it used to be, and to be honest it makes sense: $200~$300 for a console, or $1200~2000 or more on a high performance PC. YES, the PC can do way more than the console can. But if you just want to play games and aren't that particular that it has to be a PC, then why spend??

Regarding WoW specifically: It's just plain FUN to play. Not hard to learn. You get constant positive reinforcement through lots of little quests and frequent leveling. And by the time you might get bored with the combat system, or the endless grinding of mobs/trade skills, you will more than likely have joined a Guild and have online 'friends' to keep you playing. It's hardly perfect, but does accomodate a wide range of playstyles (PvP, PvE, Hardcore FFX~style Raiding, etc etc etc...). And you can keep playing it on the old POS box your dad gave you...
March 12, 2008 4:34:27 AM

avance70 said:
i think aoc, gw2, war, and many other mmos in the making wont ever break 500k subscribers. they just are not that revolutionary


I would say WAR will infact break that. DAOC had more than 500k at its peak and WAR is certainly going to appeal to all of them, many warhammer fans and just pvp fans in general. With 600k+ people signed up for beta I will be very surprised if it doesnt break 500K at some point.
March 12, 2008 12:59:00 PM

Chazwuzzer said:


Morton - I can't believe that I never heard of this "faces of mankind" game before. It sounds lke it was pretty raw - I might have liked it.



FoM was in open beta testing for more than a year but then they made it pay-to-play and a year later the company running the game decided to pull the plug. The biggest problems were that the game wasn't advertised much, the main sponsor (company paying for the servers) was some mobile phone company with no experience with games, there was no free trial for new players for trying out the game before paying for it, and the development team was very small. The developers are now trying to simplify the game in order to reduce expenses associated with keeping the game online and are hoping to make it free in the future.
Original trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uIMBk0fyzM&feature=related
Another video (4:00 to the end shows some funny/scary fights with the aliens): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQU5HT334v8&feature=related
March 26, 2008 2:22:32 PM

WoW was fun but now i think its time to look to the future. I'm slowly pacing myself over to Warhammer: Age of reckoning. If they make it right, i believe its going to be a real competition between the both (especially with new RVR)

hint: Realm vs Realm
March 27, 2008 3:52:31 PM

Although I've only played a few MMO's, I have observed WOW and played Everquest or been briefed on the mechanics of many others. I currently play City of Heroes. From what I can tell its the only MMO based on Comic Books that exists. You have complete control over character creation, look, powers pools, and sub abilities to include a invention system and badge system for small bonuses to your abilities. The game is multithreaded and works well with a duel core system. I have played it on a amd 3800+ duel core with as little as a 7600gs vid card and recieved great results. Contant free updates to the game and ability to play Player Vs Player in various zones or play a villian if you wish. Try it out for something different.
March 27, 2008 4:25:57 PM

Okay been keeping up with this thread and others when I was in Iraq. Ive played WoW since the beta. Loved the game when it first came out. I was playing City of Heroes before I moved to WoW. That game to me was a huge and terrible grind with no rewards. I moved into WoW and started a paladin. Great class when it came out. I could kill and heal all day with almost no down time. Here is when the problems come in. I wanted to be like all the cool kids and raid for "epix". I spent countless hours grinding rep, farming mats, creating fire resist gear (Molten Core and Blackwing Lair at that time) and had a blast raiding. New content was released and we stormed through that like it wasnt anything. PvP became a huge thing and they started making game changes to balance the PvP and PvE. Tier 3 armor became strictly PvE armor (most of it anyway) and I wasnt able to use my new goodies to slaughter people in PvP. That wasn't bad, but it was quite annoying. Then the expansion dropped!!!

I beta tested WoW:BC and was excited about all the new changes, armor, instances and everything about it. Soon as I ran to the portal, everything I earned and had worked so hard for was almost worthless. No biggie, farm, craft and create new stuff and do it all over again. The raids were new, fight mechanics were different, it was a blast. Now we get to where we are now. Our guild is currently in Sunwell, the new patch dropped and PvE has been balanced around PvP arena matches. Nothing is really fun, its a grind to get anything in the game, and most of the cool rewards are just given away to anyone who has a 70. I dont mind people playing casually and getting nice stuff, but giving it away takes from everyone.

Back in the day, you could always tell who raided or pvp'd, they had really nice stuff that they earned. Now everyone pretty much looks the same. My opinion is that an MMO should weed out the people who just log on for free things and the people who work their asses off to get nice thing. If you play any MMO, there should be some type of grind, crafting, waiting for spawns and such, raiding, and pvp so you have a variety of things to earn nice rewards. If you are playing it and disagree with most of that stuff, you are wasting your time. Im currently playing WoW still, but I'm waiting until Warhammer Online comes out. Hopefully it will be a new experience!
March 27, 2008 5:31:00 PM

Amen to:
Hitman04 wrote:
Back in the day, you could always tell who raided or pvp'd, they had really nice stuff that they earned. Now everyone pretty much looks the same. My opinion is that an MMO should weed out the people who just log on for free things and the people who work their asses off to get nice thing. If you play any MMO, there should be some type of grind, crafting, waiting for spawns and such, raiding, and pvp so you have a variety of things to earn nice rewards. If you are playing it and disagree with most of that stuff, you are wasting your time. Im currently playing WoW still, but I'm waiting until Warhammer Online comes out. Hopefully it will be a new experience!

I also raided for epix and while i agree with allowing the pvp'ers their own gear etc, its free. And its far superior to a large portion of the raiding epix... why spend 6 months gearing 25 people up to finish end game instances for that badass sword you want, when you could pvp for an hour a week and get a better weapon, and probably a few armor peices in less than a month. (should note that EACH raid, IF you dont die AT ALL will take you about 4-5 hours on AVERAGE to complete)

So whats the deal?

While i love playing wow, yes it doesnt have great mechanics or freedom. But it does have over 10 million subscribers, and yes it is growing and no it wont stop. Even when AoC and WaR come out wow will still be at the forefront of MMORPG's, why? Because Blizzard Entertainment (Vivendi) has way too many tricks up their sleeves and the ratio of hardcore MMORPG'ers with time on their hands and a deep understanding of a truely remarkably made game PALES in comparison to your average joe gamer with 2 hours after work to play that doesnt care that wow doesnt have a point allocation micro management system - as long as they can sneak up and kill unsuspecting victims with gear they worked oh so little to obtain.

So lets hope that when AoC and War come out, that the transition from games like WoW weeds the true gamers from the casuals, therefore creating a kind of boundary between people like Purplerat and his first time experience with a bunch of hardcore pen and paper D&D'ers... so we can all have fun, without complaining about the other side encroaching on 'our turf' of game.
March 29, 2008 3:17:47 AM

WoW was my first MMO and so far only MMO. I had been into RTS and RPG long before playing WoW and my WC3 addiction is what really attracted me to WoW. I was under the impresion that WoW would be a massive WC3 where instead of a single person controling an army, individual players made up that army. Blizzard made claims about how we would see epic battles and all that hype but I must have missed them because the only somewhat epic battles I remeber were the slide show city raids just before the server would crash. Don't get me wrong I did love WoW at one time, it was alot of fun, I just got bored with it because WoW is missing the war and in it's current state feels more like a job than a fun past time.

So I have been on the lookout for a new MMO. I know some good ones are to be found but I don't want to start in a older MMO being so far behind then just drop it for a new release. That being said WAR and AoC got my attention rather quick. At first I thought WAR was the game for me with the focus on world pvp but the more I learned about it, the less I was interested in it. I know Warhammer came before WoW and WAR is not a just another WoW but it is looking to similar to WoW for me. Another thing I don't like about WAR is it is being published by EA and I HATE EA. I don't care if EA has nothing to do with the production and maintenance of the game itself but the fact of it is if I purchase the game and open an account EA would be included in those profits and I just can't allow myself to do that.

So I am going to AoC. The more mature and realistic setting in a violent barbarian fantasy world appeals to me so much more than anything else on the horizon or avaliable now. No it's not just the boobs I am interested in, in fact I wish that was mabey not in the game because it's going to attract alot of young teens and imature dip ****. I like the idea of not having to chose a side when making my chacter with an open world to make enemies or allies with. Then on top of that player/guild made cities/keeps to defend and attack just sounds awsome. I hope AoC turns out to be a good game and I think it will. If not mabey the competition with WAR and AoC will help get Blizzard moving again because wow is just way to stale atm. I think Blizzard is expecting WotLK to fix that but by then alot of people will already be gone. Depending on how into AoC I get I may or may not be playing the next WoW Xpack.

March 31, 2008 12:26:22 PM

I've played quite a lot of mmorpg but i think they suck. I started with runescape, then got a p2p account, tried battleon, maplestory, tales of pirates etc. That was only a few years ago when i was in primary school. I found that i had to grind to get money and lv up but i never got satisfied after and during grinding. Also a runescape membership is really not worth it $5 per month so i switched to become a FPS gamer which is a lot better. P2P like world of warcraft costs so much to play but to buy a decent shooter game like CoD4 would only cost me $35 and i can play it forever until the disc breaks. MMORPGs get u addicted.
March 31, 2008 5:42:32 PM

darthvaderkenneth said:
I've played quite a lot of mmorpg but i think they suck. I started with runescape, then got a p2p account, tried battleon, maplestory, tales of pirates etc. That was only a few years ago when i was in primary school. I found that i had to grind to get money and lv up but i never got satisfied after and during grinding. Also a runescape membership is really not worth it $5 per month so i switched to become a FPS gamer which is a lot better. P2P like world of warcraft costs so much to play but to buy a decent shooter game like CoD4 would only cost me $35 and i can play it forever until the disc breaks. MMORPGs get u addicted.



Totally agree with you on some notes. Honestly I wouldn't play a game that had no reward after hard work, but to me, WoW "did". And yes, MMOs can be very addictive, but I wouldnt compare COD4 multiplayer to WoW multiplayer. Two different worlds there, not because of the gameplay, but because you get the option of playing who you want to in FPS, MMOs are based off of the server you play on.
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