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Where's the Massive in MMOGs? 105

Posted by Zonk
from the bigger-and-bigger dept.
Grimwell writes "Like MMOG's? Concerned about their future? You should read Darniaq's article questioning the general approach to these games. From the article: 'I expect invention from Blizzard as I much as I would from the local Top 40 radio station. I'd hate to think that the entire breadth of MMOs is measured by the playing of a few of the hot selling titles. It's great what WoW has done for the genre, but man I hope people don't give up on the genre just because they hit 60 and realized they didn't want to spend 3 hours a night in Molten Core.'"
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Where's the Massive in MMOGs?

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  • by Lithgon (896737)
    MMOG's failure is anything that caps what the player can do. WOW is a great game but capping it at level 60 will stunt its growth since players will reach there then stop.
    • The Burning Crusade expansion will raise the level cap to 70. Furthermore, no one "stops" at Level 60. In fact, that is when the real game starts (the end-game).
      • I think saying that the endgame of dungeon running and PvP is the "real" game is BS. Plenty of people hit the level cap in a game and quit soon after... or sit around and bitch that there is nothing to do.
        • Re:MMOGs (Score:3, Insightful)

          by freshman_a (136603)

          I think saying that the endgame of dungeon running and PvP is the "real" game is BS. Plenty of people hit the level cap in a game and quit soon after... or sit around and bitch that there is nothing to do.

          ...and plenty of people enjoy running end-game dungeons and PvPing. There's also plenty of people who take their time leveling from 1-60. There's also plenty of people who level to 60, then make a new character and enjoy leveling to 60 again. What's your point?
    • A MMOG with no level cap would be pretty cool. Having a Sauron-like huge warrior that can take on an army single-handedly would be crazy, and a mage that is able to enchant incredible, almost one-of-a-kind (because only a very small percentage of players would ever reach the required level) weapons would be very popular. Obviously it would take a lot of work to make such a game, but maybe it could have instances with level-adjusted mobs or something.
      • problem is that players burn through content faster than it can be developed.
      • Re:MMOGs (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kupan787 (916252)
        Lineage 1 I believe had no level cap. I remember one player (he was Korean) was like level 75 or so (with the next highest around 65), and was still going. Leveling at this point was insane. It would take multiple months of game play to advanced a single level. His goal was to solo one of the in game dragons. That game is still being developed, and has had a ton of new content added since I last played (4 years ago). I like that idea. If I want to keep grinding, and working it out, let me enhance my charac
    • Regardless of the level cap, 60 or 70, the type of player that burns through ANY game to get to the top level and then stops playing because they've "done it all" will never be satisfied in a MMO. This personality type simply needs something new to consume on a constant basis.

      I'm the type of player that likes to explore and make numerous achievements besides leveling. For me, WoW holds years of entertainment as it stands right now.

      The "power players" would consider me slow because I've been playing since

  • Guild Wars (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So basically the author of TFA has never played Guild Wars where PVP only players can start at a level equal to other PVP players, or opt for the RPG adventure _with_ PVP mixed in.

    Not a fanboi of RPG's but ArenaNet does seem to attempt innovation, albeit slowly.

    The problem is development. You think creating a console game is anything like creating a world for millions of interactive users?

    Besides, most of what you see in MMORPG's these days are rehashes of rules and attributes that go all the way back from
    • Re:Guild Wars (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HunterZ (20035)
      Guild Wars took a more innovative approach, but it's still static, infinitely repeatable content. The author's points, I think, were:
      - it would be way, way more fun if the actions of the player community as a whole were to drive a continuous evolution of game content, as opposed to the current paradigm of seting up a rat's maze of static content that is destined to run out sooner or later (or become boring if it's repeatable)
      - removing the experience treadmill and level segragation would put players on more
      • The end result, though, would be a 50,000 pen-and-paper RPG that is played graphically over the Internet. A great idea on paper, but really really hard to pull off successfully.

        Welcome to Eve Online [slashdot.org].

        - it would be way, way more fun if the actions of the player community as a whole were to drive a continuous evolution of game content, as opposed to the current paradigm of seting up a rat's maze of static content that is destined to run out sooner or later (or become boring if it's repeatable)

        Player controlled
  • Ugh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ebbv (34786) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:12PM (#15412615) Homepage
    It seems to me that the author of this article is less knowledgeable of the subject at hand than one should be before climbing to the top of the mountain and shouting your opinion to the unwashed masses below.

    Game evolution comes incrimentally. Not only that, it is shaped by the interest of the public.

    What the author seems to want is a many thousand player MOO or MUSH. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to him, but most people just have no interest in such an open-ended environment. MOOs and MUSHes were always more niche and less popular than their MUD brethren (though there were big ones out there, don't get me wrong.) But whereas anyone is capable of typing in a few lines of text and thus creating an object in a MOO, a modern game requires the ability to create 3D Models. And not only that to animate them. And not only that to do so well enough that it warrants repetitious viewing.

    The bottom line being, what we got is what we got, and it's going to evolve from there. If he is really dedicated to his "revolutionary" idea (which is as much a rehash of the past as anything on the market today), then he should put his time and effort into creating it.

    • Game evolution comes incrimentally.

      I dunno that that's all that generally true; it certainly seems to me to be punctuated by major leaps.

      What the author seems to want is a many thousand player MOO or MUSH. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to him, but most people just have no interest in such an open-ended environment. MOOs and MUSHes were always more niche and less popular than their MUD brethren (though there were big ones out there, don't get me wrong.) But whereas anyone is capable of typing in a few

    • by jandrese (485)
      Interestingly, there is some development towards a greater amount of player created content in games. Secondlife already gives players a ton of flexibility in designing what they see and what it does, although there isn't much of what most people would consider "gameplay" in that game. The upcoming game Spore promises to integrate player created content from all over the internet into each player's game, although it remains to be seen how it will pan out in practice. Neither of these are directly analgou
    • What the author seems to want is a many thousand player MOO or MUSH. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to him, but most people just have no interest in such an open-ended environment. MOOs and MUSHes were always more niche and less popular than their MUD brethren (though there were big ones out there, don't get me wrong.) But whereas anyone is capable of typing in a few lines of text and thus creating an object in a MOO, a modern game requires the ability to create 3D Models. And not only that to animate
      • What you are describing is Second Life [secondlife.com], and I hate to break it to you but it's becoming immensely popular for exactly the reasons set forth by the author. Because it's so open-ended, people come -- and stay. They're over a couple hundred thousand in population now, and the rate of increase is growing all the time.

        Looking at their website, they do list a population of currently 230,000. But folks online? A measly 5,902 right now. So I take it population is essentially just a list of everyo


      • Riiiight.

        Despite that over-hyping Second Life has received on /. it is not that popular. While they may list 230,000+ accounts, there are not nearly that amount of active users. How can you even begin to compare the 5,000 people who find Second Life interesting enough to spend time on it to the 6,000,000+ subscribers of World of Warcraft?

        As I stated, there is no market for that type of thing. The people who are interested in it are a very, very small minority.
  • Perhaps the biggest thing stifling the genre is the players themselves. Too many pundits blame the games and in particular WOW. Yet WOW is where the bulk of the players and it is there for a reason. A very good number of players don't want a full time job followed by a game that is yet another full time job. I do not mean to equate WOW with being dumbed down or such. WOW isn't dumbed down, what Blizzard has done is added features to make playing the game the focus, not having the learn the inadequacies
    • WOW is where the bulk of the players and it is there for a reason. A very good number of players don't want a full time job followed by a game that is yet another full time job.

      It's true, Blizzard has boiled down the MMORPG genre to the elements that, ideally, are most fun (quests, exploration, small group runs). Of course, that runs out and people want more, so they concentrate on what's addictive enough to keep people playing (rep grinding, raiding end-game instances for uber loot, PvP battlegrounds, etc.
      • Or, imagine that the Horde players overrun Darnassus and kill the Arch Druid. Instead of him respawning 2 minutes later, what if he stayed dead? What if all the NPCs on the continent gathered for a funeral, followed by a power struggle for a replacement figurehead? What if this rippled out and shifted the balance and power and course of events in various ways across the whole game world? You get the idea.

        Then I'm going to be a level 30 casual-playing character on that server and suddenly realize that th
        • Then I'm going to be a level 30 casual-playing character on that server and suddenly realize that the leader of my city has been killed by a bunch of uber-twinked 60's who ran the city over and over again until they could go through and cause the effect.

          This presumes the game would be driven by a "level up" drive; while that's an easy to code concrete reward system, its not the only possible model for a game, even an MMO. A game with a more dynamic environment wouldn't, ideally, have to feature levelling u

          • This presumes the game would be driven by a "level up" drive; while that's an easy to code concrete reward system, its not the only possible model for a game, even an MMO. A game with a more dynamic environment wouldn't, ideally, have to feature levelling up to give players an evolving set of challenges.

            Exactly. In fact, the best thing would then be for the developers to try to balance things so that the Alliance players and NPCs would push back the Horde players in a desperate battle, eventually restoring
          • There is always going to be some type of leveling. Your level is just a numeric representation of the accomplishments your character has achieved. It represents your skills, talents, and accumulated equipment. And players want to compare their characters. It's much easier to say I have a level xx Warrior than it is to say I have a Warrior with xxx sword skill, xxx blacksmithing, and all my armor is purple....

            If you take away leveling, every character is brand new every time you log in. That would mean a les
            • There is always going to be some type of leveling.

              Yes, if you redefine levelling to mean "any persistent change to a character's features" than there will always be lebelling, assuming you have a game based on persistent player avatars (which isn't the only peristent MMO possibility, though it defines the MMORPG genre).

              OTOH, if you take levelling to mean a single, common unidimensional measure that applies to all characters, then, no, there doesn't have to be levelling. And, yeah, its easier to say I have a

      • It's true, Blizzard has boiled down the MMORPG genre to the elements that, ideally, are most fun (quests, exploration, small group runs).

        That's one part of development, the other part is finding new elements. You could look at it as a necessary Revolution/Evolution duality -- there should be a constant process of recombining existing gameplay elements to find the best combination -- and perhaps Blizzard has done that well with what is out there, currently, that works in the MMO realm.

        But there also needs t

      • Interesting thoughts, and you have a point with your conclusion.

        In a less permanent way, however, it is doable and has been done. In DOAC and Neocron, players can conquer places that give their realm or clan an advantage. While that can be reversed by a counterattack and things are back to the status quo, it does not happen automatically.
        So the first step beyond the static amusement park exists.

        Another idea are player-built cities, which have reportedly been tried in SWG with mixed results. I think the conc
    • I have played MMORPGs where there was a single event that once done could be done by no others. Guess what, its annoying. Why? Because as soon as that event can be played out it will be. The one luxury an online game does not have is ability to time itself to all the players. A CRPG doesn't care, the player controls the time in the game. Someone is going to do the event first and everyone else will be left with either congratulating them or jeering the developers over how unfair it was because it happened w

    • And I wouldn't mind being the lesser hero or even one of the unwashed masses for a change. It might be refreshing. That nobody has tried it before is not my fault.

      Ever heard of the anti-hero. There was a time when that was new. Before everyone only made movies with the hero who overcame the baddie. Then someone somewhere dared to create a hero who wasn't all the different from the baddie, or even worse who was the baddie.

      Could a RPG but made in wich you are not the main hero. In wich it ain't you who gets

  • by Soong (7225) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:20PM (#15412674) Homepage Journal
    Great ideas for the future of MMORPG are plentiful. I played WoW through to the end, got Level 60, beat the game. I know the ins and outs. I can do better. Why, I just thought up half a dozen great ideas in the minute before I posted this comment. So it's just an implementation problem. Well, I have that solved to. Or I will. It'll just take some time to write. I'm going into stealth mode and living in my mom's basement to keep my burn rate down, but when I come out in a year or two I'll have the most awesome technically advanced MMORPG ever! Give away the demo, bittorrent out the client, sell subscriptions, profit! I wonder why more indie game developers aren't doing this already? I mean, it's so obvious!
  • Sandbox mmos... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scorpion265 (650012) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:34PM (#15412769)
    There is a wonderful one out there, Eve online. There aren't levels perse, just new ships and skills you can add to your charecter to make things different. There are so many things you can do in that game it's staggering. PvP- be a bounty hunter or a pirate, be a trader, be a miner, scientist, you can make EVERY item in the game. It's truely a fun experence. As you get more skills, alot of time goes into skill development, but it happens when you are offline. you set a skill to train, and it'll take two weeks, but that's two weeks if you are playing or not. If anyone is interested, pm me and we'll go do some rat hunting :)
    • Re:Sandbox mmos... (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a fellow EVE player, I'd like to point out that it isn't every other MMOG.

      EVE will not hold your hand at all. If you can't figure out what *you* want to do to have fun, the game will be very boring, very fast.

      There is no level 60. There is no Boring End Game Dungeon With The Same Old Monsters Only With Different Models. There's even no grinding unless you want there to be - a player with some decent skills (both coded and basic lessons you can learn from your friendly neighborhood pirate), a player in
    • Re:Sandbox mmos... (Score:4, Informative)

      by zerocool^ (112121) on Friday May 26, 2006 @08:43PM (#15413745) Homepage Journal

      Another thing to mention is that Eve doesn't use "shards". There's none of this "Oh, you play WoW? What server? Oh, too bad, I'm on Mediveh". It's ONE SERVER, but at times, we've hit 25,000 simultaneous connections. They accomplish this with big hardware (IBM dual core dual xeon blades, at the moment, i think) and a RAMSAN [superssd.com] from a company in Texas.

      The game is... it's really hard to explain it to someone who hasn't seen it. It's almost entirely player controlled. All of the low-security space is permanantly up for grabs, and Might makes Right, period. The economy is by far the most complex I've ever seen in a game. Anything you can think of to make money is fair game. There is no "end game" - i.e. there is no lvl 60. If you get bored, join an alliance. Start a war. Train your character in a different direction. I mean... just go check it out. That's all there is to it.

      (and I've only been playing since Feb.)

      ~Xiaodown

      Piloting a Ferox with more tech 2 gear than you can shake a stick at.
    • Eve might be a cool game if you happen to live near where they base their servers. Otherwise, it's a laggy mess.

      In my mind, all Eve has proven is that the technological barriers are still to high for MMOGs to be a single world based on one group of servers in one location.
      • Well that's a bunch of crap. The servers are in Europe, I play Eve from St. Louis, Missouri about 3 nights a week. I've never had a problem with lag that wasn't caused by my own local network (I had a DSL "modem" go bad recently). I also played it on my laptop from a hotel room in Tucson, AZ and Denver, CO recently while traveling on business... never had a problem.

        If you're having a lag problem the first place to look is probably your own local configuration. Are you playing using wireless? Do you have a g
    • I played Eve for a while. It's a great way to get to sleep if you're an insomniac as it has to be one of the most boring games I've ever played. But that's just my opinion...and I know several people that just love Eve.
  • Mud-dev con 2003 was attended by developers from all over the industry, including Shadowbane's lead, and some DAOC staff. IIRC, Raph Koster had RSVP'd, but ended up having to visit Lucas Film at the last minute, as SWG was in development at the time.

    At any rate, the main sentiment of the conference was "Hey, let's do new things", with talk of abandoning things like:

    The "server" construct. Why do you have to pick a server and stick with it in every MMO to date? Shouldn't this be abstracted away? In fact,
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have played AO, SWG, COH, and WoW. None of these games had end game content or even lifetime content (SWG) and no MMOs ever will. The MMO design has been flawed since the evolution of it and that leads to the flaw of CRPGs vs PnP.

    As with CRPGS and MMOs they are limited by code and time. People want open ended end game content. How? How do developers develop everything and nothing for an ending. How many people would it take to constantly add an countinous ending to a story? How many GMs would it take to r

    • I have played AO, SWG, COH, and WoW.

      I'm not having a dig at the parent but I just wanted to use that quote to illustrate a point.

      According to MMORPG.com there are over a hundred MMO's active at the moment with another 90+ in development and/or in testing but I've lost count of the times that I've seen articles and comments here and elsewhere that seem to use the subjective experiences of a handful of games - usually the most hyped ones - as some kind of general indicator of the entire marketplace.
  • It's not about re-integrating PvP. It's about removing the requirements of XP and equipment. This shifts the focus away from first growing ones power and then going to use it, allowing people to get into the action faster. That sounds like Planetside,

    No, what that sounds like is Halo. Create a character, equal in power to anyone else, and just go fight against them? What's the point of it being an RPG if there's no reward for exploration and creation?

    The issue is that repeating the same content ad
    • In Halo, etc.; the maps mean little, really. Just like the WoW battlegrounds. You are playing against other people, you don't hardly even think of the maps. In Arathi Basin, for instance, you know the weak points and strong points based on who from the other team is guarding them. It's all about player content - in this case, the players themselves - instead of static scripted content - in WoW's case, the boss fights which are so tightly scripted my guild (and most other guilds) had a UI mod which told us e
      • The ONLY way in WoW (et al) to do that is by playing the metagame of the endgame guild itself - on message boards, the blizzard forums, what have you - playing out social interactions out of game because the game itself does not value anything beyond the grind.

        Interestingly enough, that's the same way you get social interaction in Halo. WoW was not built to be this incredibly deep social experience. It was meant to be about getting together with other people to kill stuff. There are a lot of games ou
        • Guild I was in required them, along with Ventrilo. All we were were warm bodies in the raid machine.

          Raids were setting the mods right, listening for instructions where to stand over Vent, then hitting my two buttons. I never got the chance to "try and crack that hard egg". On my server, half the people had been in endgame guilds on other servers, and knew exactly how to do everything. We never had to try and figure ANYTHING out. Was just a matter of executing the script perfectly (and getting the correct re
    • What MMOs are selling is the idea that your monthly fee is paying for things that are new. That expectation was created by the game companies when they said "Pay us $50 up front, then $15 a month and we'll keep giving you new stuff." Every game so far has tapped out the users patience when the user base starts asking "this is what my $15 a month gets? and I have to pay for the expansions anyway when the really big and cool stuff comes out again?".
    • Not to people who play Halo, who I'm sure play the same maps over and over. Surprisingly, the people at large aren't that objective to rerunning content. The idea that you have to constantly be doing something new seems largely new to the RPG community alone.
      The difference is in the opponents:
      While most NPCs are rather stupid and repetitive to fight, in Halo (or my preferred FPS, Day Of Defeat) you fight other players who will throw a lot more surprises at you. The challenge is in beating the other guys, th
    • 'No, what that sounds like is Halo.'

      I dont think he means it in that way a key part of the article is when he says.

      'Instead of power depth based on level, focus on power breadth.'

      Or in other words you still have the RPG world and way of working but instead of your character leaping in and getting to work ramping up through the levels your reward is essentially to create your character. The only thing I can think of that I can liken it to is Fable. By expanding how you can define your character in the world
  • Right Here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zero1za (325740)
    http://www.eve-online.com/>

    Over 26000 in the same universe (single server, well, cluster of servers) last weekend. Player interaction makes up the end game. That is, pvp actually has a point beyond "points" and revolves around territory/resource conflict. Politics are far beyond anything else available too.
    • People who live near Eve's servers have fun. The rest look at screens locked up by lag.

    • The politics are so far beyond anything, they're barely politics. What it really is, is a gigantic cyberspace gang war. National boundaries (the empires) can't be changed by user action, so all you have is the people who sit in the areas the cops protect, or the ones who are doing whatever they damn well please out in the zero zones where the cops won't go.

      It would be a fascinating anthropology case study if I was an anthropologist. Not worth my time otherwise. I deal with enough of that shit in the rea
  • by Avatar8 (748465)
    This has all been said before during the previous generation of MMORPG's. It's all well and good for these virtual world idealists to generalize about what should be in MMO's, but where's the proof of concept or implmentation?

    TFA winds up saying "let players really impact the world." You know what happens when you allow that? You end up with a torn-up, useless crust of a world that no-one wants to visit because those that made the changes were idiots and ruined the wonderful world that was. Case in point:

    • FA winds up saying "let players really impact the world." You know what happens when you allow that?
      Second Life? The Sims Online?
      • Neither of which are games which I would consider playing, nor do I consider them successful in concept, delivery or number of players (Just judging by their websites and reactions of people I knew who tried them; I've never played either one because they hold no interest for me.)

        Did they do better than UO as far as letting players rule the world? If the numbers on the website are to be believed, apparently so by a slim margin.

    • EA allowed Todd McFarlane to design content for an expansion.
      Actually, that's not precisely true. McFarlane's designs, the revived Blackthorn, the Juka and the Meer races were all originally intended to populate the UO sequel, which went through a number of name changes and was eventually shitcanned because EA thought it would compete with the original. Those designs were sat upon for several years, before they finally made their way into an expansion.
    • Actually, the point of the TFA was that old ideas are not dead ideas. You raise good points about open worlds affected by players, but your talking from precedent only. That makes sense of course, since what else do we measure things by? But when you consider the precedence of an idea, don't ignore when it was executed (was it before its time?) nor how it was executed (did it actually pull of its intent?)
    • "In summary if you give the players the reigns, they will no doubt ruin the world and drive off the other players"

      I read the quoted text above and just had to laugh at how much that sounds like the real world...

      No wonder it played out that way in UO when people were given whatever they demanded... Todd's "monsters," Samurai's... omg... I saw that stuff happening and thought what the hell? Who actually plays that sad, twisted excuse for Ultima?
      • I agree.

        I played for 7.5 years starting in October 1997. I'm not sure how or why I stayed that long. When Samurai Empire came out, I quit "playing" and numbly continued "maintenance" of my account. When WoW came out, I sold my account for a pittance of what it would have been worth in UO's prime. I was grateful to be rid of the addiction.

        I had disagreements from the start that UO was not similar enough to the Ultima series. This was rationalized by the multi-split world. In essence, Ultima prime, the Sosa

  • by syukton (256348) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:55PM (#15413252)
    EVE Online is the best Massively Multiplayer Online Game in existence. When I say "massively" what I mean is that there aren't "shards" or "realms" or other divisions between groups of players. Everyone plays on the same "realm" which had 26,000 players online concurrently last weekend, out of a playerbase of about 110,000. How is that for massive?

    There's also the in-game universe, which consists of a network of more than 4,000 solar systems. How many zones are there in other MMOGs like WoW, Everquest, Everquest2, and so on? 200? 300? Again, massive.

    Oh, and you wanna talk massive? Check out the ships [grismar.net] you can fly. You do of course start the game in a tiny (by comparison) ship, but through the training of skills you will be able to fly bigger and badder ships over time.

    Skills are another area where EVE takes the term massive to the limit. Any player can learn any skill, of which there are literally hundreds. You aren't limited by your "class" because there are no classes. The skills you have determine the activities you can perform, period. There are certain types of spacecraft which are designed to be used by members of a particular race (there are four: Caldari, Amarr, Gallente and Minmatar) but there is nothing preventing say, a Gallente pilot from learning the Amarr skills so that they can fly Amarr Battleships. One thing about skills that differs from other games is that you select a skill (one at a time) to train, and then it will train over a period of time, regardless of whether or not you're online. So if it will take you a few days to get the Caldari Cruiser skill from level 3 to 4, you can put the game down for a long weekend and come back to your new skill and the benefits it entails.

    Everything (item-wise and ship-wise) in the game is produced in one of two ways: you take it as loot after killing an NPC pirate ("rat" in game terminology) or players make them. Most of the equipment and ships are player-produced. It is possible (although difficult) for a single player to mine her own ore, start her own production queue, and start producing her own ships, guns, ammunition, microwarp drives, armor plating, and so on. It's much easier to be part of a group.

    That brings us to Corporations. Corporations of many types exist. Some corporations exist solely to mine the ores of the asteroid belts in the outer regions. Some corporations are pirates, who exist solely to kill other players and take their equipment. Some corporations are explorers, or escorts, or manufacturers. Corporations can be as small as 20 people or as large as 1,000 (or more). Multiple corporations can form Alliances, perhaps granting a Mining corporation the privelege of mining precious ore in an outer system controlled by a Pirate corporation in the alliance.

    At the beginning I mentioned the 4,000 solar systems. These systems each have a sovereignity and a security level. The security level determines a player's safety in the system, ranging from 1.0 (secure) to 0.0 (insecure). At a security level less than 0.5, any player can attack any other player. At a security level less than 0.3, players can set up their own space stations (you read that right, you can deploy and operate your own space station) and claim sovereignity over that system, effectively making it "theirs." Alliances will claim sovereignity over vast networks of systems, as well. So of that massive 4,000 systems, perhaps half are at a security level of 0.5 or greater and are "protected" by The Federation. Outside of these systems though, anyone and anything is fair game, and the stakes can be quite high.

    Outside of Federation Space, there is one thing that is more massive than any other game out there. If you have two alliances, each with 4,000 players or so, who both want to control a region of space because of, say, the extremely valuable minerals in the asteroid belts required to build a certain type of ship, th
    • by aafiske (243836) on Friday May 26, 2006 @07:55PM (#15413526)
      You missed the most important feature! (well, one of them...) Newbies are not helpless against the mighty.

      Take WoW for example. Say you have a group of 30 lvl10s. You will never, ever kill a level60. They will just resist, dodge, absorb or tank all your damage and one-shot each of you without breaking a sweat. A level 30 in the 30-39 bracket? Welcome to hurting.

      But in eve... big ships have penalties to hit smaller ships. Now, smaller ships can't really put out the damage to kill a big one, so a battleship vs a frigate would basically be a stalemate, as long as the frigate keeps its speed up. But a tiny fleet of frigates can easily pin down and kill a battleship. Some corporations base their operations on that: large groups of cheap ships that always lose a few members when taking on big game, but end up doing much more damage monetarily speaking. (You lost 8 250k frigates, they lost 2 100mil battleships. You win.)

      It's such a refreshing change that you can be actually useful in a short period of time, I figured it'd be a shame not to mention it.
    • Guild Wars is a single universe, as well. However, it's not really a "massive" game, as everything is instanced...
  • y = player level
    x = time played

    y = x^2

    So, maybe it takes 20 hours to get to level 25, but it takes 2000 hours to get to level 80.
    • ok so x=20, y= k * 400. you need the constant.

      formula becomes y = x^2/16.

      that means that in 36 hours you will reach and breach level 80.

      O.o
  • I for one expect the future of MMOG to be one where players choose:

    1. the size of their world - do you really want to play with 500,000 people or wouldn't 5,000 work better?

    2. the level they play at - why not have a test game where it figures out your actual play level, and then suggests you choose that World - for example, if you test out at play level 4, you could choose any level, but it would suggest you choose level 1-5. Then for each level (World), you only see people at that level. Once you have ma
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday May 26, 2006 @07:58PM (#15413537) Journal

    What exactly is a MMORPG about anyway. A game like tetris is easy. Highscore. Chess is easy. Beat the opponent. Quake is easy, beat the other players.

    Well that is what WoW does. The highscore is your level, the opponent is the AI and the other players are the horde or non-horde.

    If you look at how most players talk about WoW you get the distinct impression that it is all about loot and levels.

    Has anyone ever held a fishing competition in WoW? Or just organized a tour of nice looking spots? A beauty contest? Anything not related to getting loot or XP?

    To some players it is this that makes an MMORPG. To have fun. This is to me what made SWG at a time such a nice game. To do stuff that was just fun to do without worrying about how many levels it would give you. IRC with pretty pictures.

    An example, SWG, the tour of endor. For all its faults SWG could look pretty nice and it was clear at least some of the artists had spend some time looking at the source material and getting it. Endor was one of those. It was kinda fun to find the stuff from the ewok movies there (yes I liked them, bite me). So with a group of newer players we organized a tour. Just to drive around and see all the spots. It was sorta popular. Plenty of people wanted to join and had fun but we also got some almost violent reactions from players who just couldn't see the point of doing something that did not give XP. There were two ewok villages and visiting just one of them gave you a Point of Intrest badge. So when we set off to visit the other one member became enraged at the waste of time. Never mind that the villages were nicely done, he wanted XP and he wanted it now.

    Same with Everquest 2. We were in a small group fighting red conning enemies and not doing to well. Death still carried an XP debt and it even carried over to your party members. Then again our motto was, if you ain't dying you ain't trying. It was simply more fun to defeat an enemy with a sliver off live remaining (and promply get killed by the next spawn) then fighting critters at optimum level wich were from a tactical viewpoint yawnville.

    Yet again this led to almost violent confrotations with other players who just couldn't get that we were wasting our time on this. How dare we fight reds when they were having trouble finding people our level for the blue/green areas.

    The point is that for us the battles were not a grind. They really required you to think about what you were doing rather then just hit the same special over and over. All those people who complain about repetitive fighting just ain't putting themselves to the challenge.

    There is plenty of stuff to do and challenges to be had in EQ2 and SWG (well before both were WoWed anyway) but most people rushed by on the quest to get maximum XP. Just check how few players ever went into the deeper dungeons in EQ2 or how deserted the middle planets were in SWG.

    I think I call it the Midnight Club vs Grand Prix Legends Syndrome.

    In Midnight Club your enemy is always slighty better then you. If you got a D class car, they have C class, if you have level 1 upgrades, they got level 2. If you got 1 nitrious boost, they got 2. Improving don't matter, you will still be raising enemies slightly better then you. It is an endless grind to the top where your reward is a super car that is no fun to drive because now you still will get knocked out the race by being rear ended by the AI.

    Grand Prix Legends on the other hand puts you in a car that is impossible to control but is the same car everyone else drives. If you tune it to just a little bit better performance the other drivers stay the same. So you do gain real benefits by becoming better and better. You don't so much "win" as slowly climb up higher in the rankings, first races you are lucky to finish but there is no price to pay. You can simply advance to the next race and finish a season on 10th place and still have improved. MC you don't improve unless you win.

    A game like EQ2 is like Midnight

    • Lame gameplay (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WNight (23683)
      I just finished playing Oblivion. It's a perfect example of the enemies always being a level above you. You can literally go anywhere in the game, even into "Oblivion", as a second level character with a wood club and beat the game. But *every* bandit in the game has $30k in armor later in the game, even when they ask for the same $100 bribe. If they fell upon one of their own, they'd be rich for life, but instead they extort the peasantry for pennies. Sucks. Ass.

      Luckily, as soon as it came out many modder
    • Of course the good game you describe is called PlanetSide.
      • Perhaps... aside from the part where he complained about twitch gaming being part of the problem. (And I agree, which is why I lost interest in PlanetSide before my free trial account even had time to expire.)
  • Why I gave up on WoW (Score:3, Informative)

    by egburr (141740) on Friday May 26, 2006 @08:18PM (#15413634) Homepage
    • When I could get on, I let it take all my time.
    • When I couldn't get on (maintenance, crash, full), I couldn't switch to single player. Come on folks; how hard would it be to have a single player setting (or better yet a limited multiplayer server for a local LAN!) for those long times when the servers are down?
    • Lots of well-documented bugs that never got fixed
    • Even a 2nd grader understands "honor" better than Blizzard does.

    I have since figured out that I would rather play a multiplayer (4-10 people) game than a MMORPG. The server tends to be more stable, the players more consistent, and the cost a LOT less. Even when I played Wow, I seldom got the feeling of the supposed millions of people who were playing, except when I walked into one of the major towns. Other than in town, I doubt I ever saw more than a dozen people at any one time, anyway, so what's the difference?

  • Agreed in Part (Score:4, Insightful)

    by linds.r (895980) on Friday May 26, 2006 @08:51PM (#15413779)
    The article author's views on WoW are fairly spot on, in my mind. It fails because of its total staticity in all areas. Dieing does nothing. Killing someone respawns them 200m away. Clearing a town just gives you a clear town for 20 seconds. Battlegrounds and Raids only have the effect of giving you minute advantages in ... battlegrounds and raids.

    His solution, however, is a tad too drastic. Removing leveling all together, and its associated goals is not necessary. The next step MMORPG wise is adding some dynamism. The internet isn't ready for a fully player driven world, not with current anonimity and maturity. Perhaps when the stigma to adults of playing these games is cleared there will be interesting opportunities for this.

    The compromise, something that would provide a lot of self-sustaining play, would be to add structured social aspects. I know these have been done to a certain degree in MUD's and planned in some MMO's currently in development, but this needs to be done completely and well to succeed at all. Add a certain number of factions, not all known as playable to the player. Kingdom A, Kingdom B, OtherFormOfGovt C, MysteriousFactionFromFarAway D, WizardsGroup E, ReligiousOrg F, RebelliousGroup G, etc etc. Allow the player to start in the world, introduce them to it, then allow them to join one, get a 'job', a role in the world, and give it meaning. Governing a town, a city-guard, mercenary, thief, shopkeeper, the possibilities are endless and obvious. These roles would have to have world impact and a possibility for progression. Guards would defend their town from opposing factions, real players come to raid/invade, and possibly get promoted to captain etc.

    Players would get known for more than being level 60, but for their choices socially, and their effect on the events. This would have to mean that existing towns, and all manner of similar places would have to be able to be taken over. Not easily, nothing should be easy in that way, but it needs to be possible. Of course these are really fine grained examples that hopefully illustrate the necessary dynamism.
  • The leveling, the questing, the instancing, the consensual pvp, the carebearization of players entering the genre. When people get banned for scamming other players via sending a mystery box in the mail for 10gold on delivery, and it turns out to have 1 copper in it, you know something is wrong with the game.
    If you want a truly revolutionary and amazing game, wait for Darkfall.
  • Most of the MMORPGs all suck, if not all of them, sadly. They suck the life out of hapless players who for whatever reasons waste vastly inordinate amounts of time often driven in the end by the greed for stuff that the original post talked about. The main players, the popular ones, all follow the model of gain powers and stuff, worthless virtual stuff that people will devote 40 hour weeks to obtaining and in the end for what? So they can do it all over again on the next harder rung of the grind ladder and
  • by chazzf (188092)
    Bah! My MMOG is Wikipedia.

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin

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