The Secret of WoW

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Huh? Basically, all your tips on "How to beat WoW?" was become more like WoW. Better yet, be WoW. That wasn't really clever. In every point you make in this little article, you cite how WoW does that particular thing best, and that new imaginery MMO should do the same. Making an MMO just like WoW will defeat the purpose...

Ding ding ding. See: Age of Conan and Warhammer: Online.

The problem is, is that rather that craft something new, developers are keen on just cloning WoW and trying to steal some of Blizzard's customers. WoW does have some good ideas, and I will fully admit that. It's very streamlined and easy to get into, but much like trying to dive head first into a kiddy pool, you'll find yourself bashing your head on its shallowness very quickly. Now, the catch is, is that a vast majority of the population enjoy that shallowness (please keep your OMG WOW SO DEEP U TROLLIN comments to yourself). The grinding and achievement collection mentality is one that is very addictive to many people so they're very easily capitvated by that. The catch is, is that by catering to that population, they lose out on people that want to go beyond that.

To truly beat WoW you have to skirt a fine line between accessibility and complexity. There is a market for truly diabolically expansive games (see: Eve Online), but it won't bring you the massive piles of money that you're hoping for. Instead, what you have to do is create a game that has the grinding and collection aspects, but make it so that those that yearn for something beyond those basic things have something to do. Warhammer attempted to do that, but failed pretty hard with its PVP since it managed to turn world PVP into just another form of grinding only with even more rage and trolling.

So what ingredients would we need? Grinding PVE? Absolutely, but make the enemies more varied, make the quests more than just whacking 100 monsters to get 10 eyes (seriously Blizzard, what the fuck?). Make it feel like you're actually accomplishing something that's having an impact on the world. Each new character you create should have at least a little variety in what they experience. Branching mission arcs anyone?

Item collection? Yes, but for the love of god allow players to earn their awesome loot in ways beyond just doing the same instance run over and over and over and over hoping for that one rare drop. That may be fun for a lot of people, but for me, I could feel my brain decaying from every repetitive instance grind. Doing some rewards via PVP is ok, but for the people that don't give a fuck about PVP, they're going to be left out in the cold. The item reward system will have to reward items based on common sense and logic.

The basic MMO class system blows with only minor amounts of customization allowed for. Guild Wars is intriguing in how you can alter your character, but the learning curve on not fucking it up makes it a bit iffy. You'd have to allow your average, casual player to be able to enjoy their cookie cutter mage, but let a power user really go nuts with it, or go in the opposite direction and actually do something really bizarre. Oh how I yearn for something along the lines of 3.0 D and D where you can really go crazy with just exactly how you build your character up or just level your guy straight up and not go too far off the beaten path but still be effective. Imagine participating in a huge PVE branching mission arc and finding out you've earned the right via your decisions to a certain prestige class, knowing that if you'd gone the other way, you'd have gotten something else? Far fetched perhaps, but damn awesome? Certainly.

And on I could go, but you get my general point. There's a lack any true attachment to your character in the WoW era of MMOs. You're just another face in the crowd, another tank, another heal bot all grinding the same instances for the same gear. To beat WoW you have break that mold and create a world that you can really immerse yourself in, without going batshit crazy like CCP did with Eve Online (don't get me wrong, I loves me some Eve and have been playing it for three and a half years, but it's definitely a niche game and not for your average person). There is a happy medium between the two extremes of WoW and Eve and if a developer, any developer would actually attempt to straddle that line and craft an accessible, but deep game, they'd find themselves rolling in a cash fountain.

TOGSolid:

Huh? Basically, all your tips on "How to beat WoW?" was become more like WoW. Better yet, be WoW. That wasn't really clever. In every point you make in this little article, you cite how WoW does that particular thing best, and that new imaginery MMO should do the same. Making an MMO just like WoW will defeat the purpose...

Ding ding ding. See: Age of Conan and Warhammer: Online.

-Godly insight removed for length purposes-

I love it. I adore it. I would cage it, beat it, whip it raw and then sex it up while making it say my name.

The concept of branching or reactive classes and storylines has always been potent (WoW's wrathgate anyone? And that didn't even branch!) but here the ideas really spark in my mind. The concept of having no class boundaries but what abilities you choose or stats you level could be an incredible feat of game design and exploration. The only problem is balance. In every class, there is the best option. In ever option, there is the 'best' variant. This will never change, it's set in stone. When you add in a global every-class or the ability to drive your character in a certain direction I fear greatly that no developer can keep such an endeavor balanced to allow players the gift of choice.

The fine line is between finding balance and not homogenizing the game. If you can do that while thinning the line even further by reducing set classes? That, friends, is a WoW killer.

Anoctris:

Wingmna:
That picture is the biggest load of BS ever.
...
And the racism in that picture is just pathetic, the country of my background protected Jews at the risk of their own lives, so how dare you put a picture you little Nazi. My relatives didn't risk their lives so morons like you can post pictures like that.
...
Just piss off racist.

I think your post proves the calibre of most raiders, Elitest assholes with delusions of grandeur, with little maturity or life experience who make snap judgements about a person's character with little or no actual, valuable knowledge.

And I like the way you slander me as a racist and a Nazi, because I linked a picture (not drawn by me) that has some anti-Semitism in it. I like the way you use the Anti anti-Semitism position in an attempt to derail a perfectly legitimate observation about the practice of Elitism by raiders.

You should try and become a politician mate, you're full of shit and don't know what you're talking about.

LOL,

Why didn't you reply to all my other information? Please!

All you use are words, you don't give any evidence, which just proves you are an inexperienced gamer.

Anyone could have edited that picture and removed the Jewish comment and it would have been just putting Tigole with a big noise... Yet you post it anyway? Just proves to me that you don't mind racist comments on your pictures.

And again, I find it ironic that you say I am full of shit, yet you are the one that throws "Elitest assholes with delusions of grandeur" and "little maturity or life experience" with no evidence.

Your hypocrisy is amazing.

And FYI, I was never a raider in Vanilla, I was pretty much a casual who only did stuff like ZG/AQ20/MC later in Vanilla when it was easier, so gratz on generalising who I am... No life experience... You don't even know who I am, how can you throw such a judgement! LOL you are pathetic. Seems like I was spot on with calling you a racist, you throw generalisations at me, and racism is just generalising certain groups of people, you COULD have not posted that picture at all or removed the racism... Yet you chose not too.

Wingmna:

Why didn't you reply to all my other information? Please!

Because there wasn't anything worth replying to, you're a victim of your own biased viewpoint, as am I.

Wingmna:
All you use are words, you don't give any evidence, which just proves you are an inexperienced gamer.

There's another generalisation without any fact to support it. Use of words? This is a forum FFS,and you obviously don't like the use of pictures - shall I break out the crayons next? What are you basing you statement ('inexperienced gamer') on - the fact I don't like Raiding? That's a personal opinion mate - not a sign of skill - but you're a raider so I wouldn't expect you to understand such a radical concept.

Wingmna:
Anyone could have edited that picture and removed the Jewish comment and it would have been just putting Tigole with a big noise... Yet you post it anyway? Just proves to me that you don't mind racist comments on your pictures.

No, what it proves is you ignored everything else on the picture and preferred to be insulted. That's your choice, and I respect your choice to be a moron and feel insulted. It's not so much I don't mind racist comments, I just don't care. Racisim is a fact of life (a terrible fact), and as long as there are humans there will be racisim, however subtle or accidental. If you're going to get angry over things like this, I suggest you never leave your home or interact with another live human again. That said, the length of time it took you to reply suggests you play WOW like an addict or a raider anyway, so don't worry about it.

Wingmna:

And again, I find it ironic that you say I am full of shit, yet you are the one that throws "Elitest assholes with delusions of grandeur" and "little maturity or life experience" with no evidence.

No, the evidence is 4 years of playtime and interaction with the WoW community. The key caveat you missed in my other posts was that 'most' not 'all' raiders are immature, elitest assholes. You are the former, as you continue to display in your replies which are personal attacks rather than an intelligent arguement, which is what I would expect from an atypical raider.

Wingmna:

And FYI, I was never a raider in Vanilla, I was pretty much a casual who only did stuff like ZG/AQ20/MC later in Vanilla when it was easier, so gratz on generalising who I am... No life experience... You don't even know who I am, how can you throw such a judgement! LOL you are pathetic. Seems like I was spot on with calling you a racist, you throw generalisations at me, and racism is just generalising certain groups of people, you COULD have not posted that picture at all or removed the racism... Yet you chose not too.

No you're right about not knowing exactly who you are, but from your overreaction and your inability to make a coherent arguement I can make a guess as to what your most closely resemble. A fool.

Ultrajoe:

TOGSolid:

Huh? Basically, all your tips on "How to beat WoW?" was become more like WoW. Better yet, be WoW. That wasn't really clever. In every point you make in this little article, you cite how WoW does that particular thing best, and that new imaginery MMO should do the same. Making an MMO just like WoW will defeat the purpose...

Ding ding ding. See: Age of Conan and Warhammer: Online.

-Godly insight removed for length purposes-

I love it. I adore it. I would cage it, beat it, whip it raw and then sex it up while making it say my name.

The concept of branching or reactive classes and storylines has always been potent (WoW's wrathgate anyone? And that didn't even branch!) but here the ideas really spark in my mind. The concept of having no class boundaries but what abilities you choose or stats you level could be an incredible feat of game design and exploration. The only problem is balance. In every class, there is the best option. In ever option, there is the 'best' variant. This will never change, it's set in stone. When you add in a global every-class or the ability to drive your character in a certain direction I fear greatly that no developer can keep such an endeavor balanced to allow players the gift of choice.

The fine line is between finding balance and not homogenizing the game. If you can do that while thinning the line even further by reducing set classes? That, friends, is a WoW killer.

Balance is certainly an issue, but I was playing an old game I used to be heavily involved with, The Specialists, and I was mulling over the entire concept of game balance and how devs just try too damn hard to get that perfect balance with their set in stone, rigid systems. Often times they end up completely watering down the experience to get their perfect balance.

Obviously there will always be the power gamers, the people who don't give a rat's ass about the story or the immersion and just want to be the most ubertwinked, e-peen jacking, ego stroker in the game. But I remember fondly in D and D that that was part of the inherent territory of the genre and half the damn fun. There was always a golden rule though, no matter how big of a powerhouse badass you thought you were, there was always another player with a bigger, better, more creative setup that could kick your ass. That's half the fun about the free form class system is that a counter to your FOTM setup is always right around the corner, and the devs don't have to do a damn thing but wait and see what it is (unless of course something is truly broken, and then the fix is easy and apparant).

Sure, you can build a super tank that may appear nigh unstoppable in melee, but then you knew you were always fucked when you ran into a wizard that could stop you dead in your tracks with the right spell (oh the joys of abusing reverse gravity in our occasional level 20 death matches). So now everyone's like 'omg wizards are OP' but then you run into that one player that just absolutely loves giving casters a hard time and has a specifically built an anti-mage rogue, and on the circle of getting owned goes.

By avoiding set classes, you actually fix a lot of balance issues since players will constantly be doing their best to one up each other without being hampered by set in stone variables like in WoW. That leaves Devs with the task of just making minor tweaks here and there to fix stuff that really is glaringly fucked up. Guild Wars is a great proof of concept of how liberating free form classes are. Another would of course be traditional D and D itself, and if you want to think a little outside the box, what about Magic: The Gathering? Players have their cards (abilities), assemble their decks (classes), and no matter how perfect your deck is, there's always some rotten bastard out there that has the trick to shutting you down.

The newest PC Gamer has a rather interesting brief article about Star Trek: Online that has really given me faith in that game, and if it carries through on its promises, we may just end up with a fantastic MMO for those of us craving a little more depth. I highly recommend you go check it out.

And as much as I'd like to keep typing, I think I'm gonna get smacked if I don't get back to work.

Sneak Edit: FFS guys, I'm not exactly a fan of WoW, and even I managed to keep myself from inadvertently slipping some anti-WoW troll bait into my post. This discussion isn't about whether WoW is good or bad, but about how to construct a new MMO that could usurp WoW's dominance. Check the personal attacks at the door and try to keep your posts constructive.

Playbahnosh:
Huh? Basically, all your tips on "How to beat WoW?" was become more like WoW. Better yet, be WoW. That wasn't really clever. In every point you make in this little article, you cite how WoW does that particular thing best, and that new imaginery MMO should do the same. Making an MMO just like WoW will defeat the purpose...

No other MMO has come into WoW's weight class in terms of success and subscribers. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude (as Shamus has) that they are doing it right and your first step to beating them has to be to copy them. If you'd notice, he also pointed out at least one area that new developers could exceed WoW in: crafting - in fact, this has been done, but not in combination with getting everything else right. EVE Online, for example, has a far more robust crafting system than WoW - however, there is less story content, less solo content, less opportunity to escape the PvP experience for those players who don't like it yet want to play around with the rest of the game, less exploration... etc.

Nobody has yet done everything right the way WoW has and one-upped it in any significant way. Close contenders might be Lord of the Rings Online or Warhammer Online, but both of those failed in the one-upsmanship department. The majority of players have now dismissed them as WoW-clones, and gone back to their online home with their leveled characters and known friend-base.

I've never said why is WoW so popular? I just say I've had more fun at the dentist's office. WoW is easily marketable because like Shamus said it's what all the friends are doing and there's this whole need to conform (and the game makes it easy to conform) and it's all very social hierarchy and whatnot. However, I don't really pull any fun out of any MMORPG I have ever played. Personally among it's console or offline brethren they seem very paleolithic and basic. It's like comparing an Etch-A-Sketch to a Game Boy (Old black and white honker.) really. You've got Games like Prototype coming out now and I don't want to play some haul and grind MMORPG, no matter how good they do it. It's too much like pulling teeth for me.

I like this. :D I would like to see an MMO that incorporates all this better. I have never played WoW for one reason... I don't like to pay monthly. Yes it makes more money but, especially for smaller MMO's, it can alienate a significant amount of the potential audience. I know soooo many people who ignore WoW for this reason, and who bought Guild Wars for this reason. I don't mind paying once. The scary thing is, I hold up Runescape as an example of a good combination of MMO elements, minus the combat and classes obviously. But the skills, and gathering aspects are fairly cool. I don't play it (hell no, not for about 6 years) but it has plenty of skills and, if you shell out another MONTHLY fee, there is a lot of updates, quests, a fairly large map.

pantsoffdanceoff:
How about not having the same enemies you see at level 1 you see at level 70 just a different color?

This. This is one of the notable downfalls of LotRO: level 20 orcs are visually identical to level 58 orcs (though they change up a little bit when you go from the overworld down into Moria...but a whole expansion before you get some unit differentiation? Minus brownie points, Turbine.). On the upside their models are actually pretty nice - I don't really get tired of looking at them too quickly - but all the same: a wight is a wight is a wight is a wight, and considering the grinding in that game...you notice.

The exploration bit in this article struck me the most. Going from EQ to SWG to WoW, the lack of zone loading times hit me immediately. And I loved it. Looooved it. Wheeeeeee. I'd spend a day now and then just riding around to see the things I missed leveling up (some zones I just hated, quest-wise, so I'd only visit them well after I was beyond their level range) and not needing to load at every zone border is such a boon for the exploration fetish. Always one of my top 3 MMO priorities. (LotRO's setup is good for this geographically, but the means of travel are slower than I'd like, so it gets an above-average-but-not-great score)

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