Your MMO is a Joke

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Oh for a MMO with few silly players, a world I can change and a one of payment.

Or world peace.

Star Wars MMO will have voice entirely voice acted interactions and should have meaningful story lines.

Hopefully that doesn't turn into a joke.

Well, I have mixed opinions on the subject.

To an extent you (the article writer) are absolutly correct about Champions Online and the style, but I also suspect that a lot of this comes from current pressure on the gaming industry over content like violence, sex, and gore. Champions Online has ultimatly become the anti-thesis of such things, and honestly I think it did that by intentionally staying away from things like playable super villains and a lot of the dark hero motif. Please note that I would like a lot more "realism" and "gritty" type comic stuff, but I understand why they didn't go in that direction.

It's also noteworthy that one of the problems MMORPGs in general suffer is the need to pack interactive content together. For example, in World Of Warcraft something like "Elwynn Forest" or "The Blasted Lands" would be huge, not something you can traverse in length in a couple of minutes. Not to mention the tens of thousands of people who would live in Stormwind. However the reality of game design, not to mention fun (ie not travelling through an empty world for an hour or three for the sake of a realistic portryal of how things would be) requires a bit of leeway.

I think it's an unfair criticism to point out that for example Snake Gulch is right next door to both an Atomic wasteland AND a terrorist base. No that isn't even remotly sensible, BUT by the same token it's no worse than how content is arranged in every other MMORPG to date. Sure seperating the Atomic Wasleland fromt he Amusement park by a substantial distance would make sense, but is it really gamable?

I do tend to think that with the depth of the liscence they chose too much silly to be honest. Though again I think they did that for a reason. Truthfully Foxbat (the guy with the foam sign fanboy bots, and the pingpong ball gun) who is a giant send-up on Batman is overused. He is however no worse than many similar humor-themed characters in existing comic universes which tend to be used in doses. Like say Marvel's "Arcade", "Madcap", or "Brother's Grim", or well... quite a few people in the DC universe especially in the Batman rogue's gallery (and allegedly he's Mr. serious story himself).

Now yeah, Snake Gulch is a bit much at times. What could have been a very interesting concept, inspired by the movie "Westworld", does get a bit out of hand. But still you find that villains like Mechanon seem to be fairly serious concepts, compared to say Foxbat or even the GI Joe inspired tech terrorists (Viper = Cobra, even some of the constumes are the same).

I do like my over the top super hero game though (lifetime subscriber), and yes it has used so many jokes that it has become a joke. I still find it entertaining though.

It is NOT what it could have been, but I blame the industry for that. I think this game is what it is specifically because of fear of groups like Australian Censors. As things stand now Champions Online is a good product, albeit one that was not intended to push any boundaries.

Kindof agree with you, alot of cheap puns and jokes in Champions, like ping-pong man.

You can tell they do have the energy to make things funny, I liked the goofyness of the ping-pong ball guns, I don't want every mission I do in a game to be Batman-serious, unless I'm playing Batman. I want something occasionally that is like, "What? Thats so stupid!" *laughs*,
but better story telling would pay for itself, it's like if you make a good book with adequate writing then you have the possibility that people will pay to read any sequels of the same level writing. But you can't make a mediocre cheap puns joke-athon and expect folks to stay with you til you reach your donation mark.

I wonder if all the people here actually realize the champions online game is based off the pen and paper roleplaying game of the same name from HERO games.

http://www.herogames.com/home.htm;jsessionid=ayzcZIvyJmN4

So most of the stuff that is in the game is taken from the source material already.

I think if you were a fan of the pen and paper game and knew that it could be goofy at times then the game is not going to bother you.

But......

If you go in not knowing the background of the game then I can see how it can be offputting.

Though it would be nice to see rants with a little more knowledge about the product being ranted on since its not really based off comics books so much as it is based of a roleplaying game that is based off comic books.

Hellgate London was like this?
The trailers, the images, the promos made it look extremely serious. I wanted to try it out, but I only play free MMOs.
It's sad that something so interesting was that much of a 'joke'.

I'm with you shamus, i'm one of those weirdos who actually reads the quest text...and for that when i talk about the story to my other wow friends they have no clue what the hell i'm talking about. It for me helps in making the quests interesting to do, cause i know that doing this is for a purpose, instead of just for a reward of loot & exp. I think with the upcoming star wars: the old republic game coming out, with its fully voiced, fully cutscened game, it will make lazy people who don't want to read understand the game they're playing more. And i won't be the only one who knows the story! but of course there will be people who just will skip over the cut scenes =/

And to be clear: I'm not saying the game shouldn't be campy fun, but that it should be thematically correct campy fun. The Incredibles was great fun, but it had the jokes in the right spots. The bad guy wasn't a buffoon, but a real threat. Even though the world was silly, it was fun silly and not stupid silly. When it went for laughs, it actually had real jokes and not a guy named "Homer Samson" yelling DOH! It had physical humor that wasn't just the main character slipping on a banana peel.

KOTOR is another game that did humor well. HK-47 is hilarious without once using the setting as a cheap gag. He fits in the world, which makes him that much funnier.

Evil Genius did the 60's spy-movie send-up, and did so with wit. In that game you DO play as a bit of a goof, but your character actually has an appropriate goal (take over the world) and not something stupid. (Take over a pie factory.)

Here are three witty and interesting approaches to humor. Champs doesn't go for any of them. The writing isn't trying to be clever. It's just lazy.

"Oh look! It's an anchorman named Rob Mahogany! Get it? Like the Anchorman movie? Wasn't that movie funny? Huh?"

AvauntVanguard:
Hellgate London was like this?
The trailers, the images, the promos made it look extremely serious. I wanted to try it out, but I only play free MMOs.
It's sad that something so interesting was that much of a 'joke'.

Sadly, yes. And Hellgate was a good bit sillier. I did a write-up of it here:

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1701

KarmicToast:
lackluster PvP

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

toapat:

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

Guild Wars.

Gildan Bladeborn:

toapat:

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

Guild Wars.

still relies on equipment and build setup

Neither of which require you to play the storyline at all or have the most 'uber' gear thanks to PvP-only characters (and the complete lack of any "best" items). Even a tiny amount of unlocking will leave the would be PvP player with a character just as well off as one a player who's spent 4 years doing PvE will have.

Additional: Some people seem to think I hate this game.

I love this game way too much. I've been playing obsessively for 2 weeks. I just think the writing is poor, both in a narrative and thematic sense. I'd hate to see this "can't be aresed to try" approach to quest writing become the norm.

Personally, I love it when games are silly and constantly break the fourth wall.

I haven't played Champions Online so I can't speak for it specifically, but the article honestly makes it seem like a game that's right up my alley.

Well, okay, maybe not exactly. I'm a huge fan of MST3K, and my favorite kind of humor fits right into that niche; a serious world contrasted by snarky characters who break the fourth wall and generally take the piss. Still, an entirely silly world that constantly breaks the fourth wall and snarks at itself sounds like a good time to me.

I can see how an entirely silly world can be a turn-off to people who feel that games, by definition, have to 'draw' you into their world, but I don't necessarily play games to be drawn into them. I don't mean that I hate games that try to draw you in- quite the contrary; I just feel like people seem to think that a game has to try and engross you in its fiction, when this isn't necessarily the case.

I've been thinking about this a bit (while bitchslapping demons in Lemuria)...

Over time, I've been attacked more and more by my Nemesis' Minions, I've read on their forums that it's rumoured that they're going to add in "dependants", housing and super group bases, and many people in my super group are talking about the concept of designing your own Nemesis base, so what we have here are a character you've designed, fighting enemies you've designed, in lairs you've designed, saving people you've designed and then going back to the apartment that you've furnished using the money that isn't worth spending anywhere else.

In my personal opinion, the Nemesis quests and dialogue is some of the best in the game. The plots are cliched (I just destroyed my first Nemesis' Death Ray and...

but they work. The dialogue is a surprisingly good display of the personality you've picked for them, and it's not that comical overall. I have a feeling that the main, premade content is going to provide the backdrop for more player-made content as the game goes on. I wouldn't be surprised if the first major patch adds in more Nemesis options and quests, and that the more "zany" main quest lines are increasingly used as filler for Nemesis schemes, which are usually FAR darker in nature.

This was a ranty article, but it is true with CO, they spent little time on the text.

Then you're prolly looking forward to SW:TOR. I know I am. Hah, be the centre of your own multiplayer movie? Right on.

"Canadian Velociraptors"? Were do I sign up for this game?

Shamus Young:
Your MMO is a Joke

Champions Online takes the jokes too far.

Read Full Article

Too be honest I think that the game sounds brilliantly hilarious. Like Destroy All Humans!... Exept without having one child* that tried earnestly, and succeeded in most places to follow in it's daddies footsteps, a middle child* that, like so many others, was neglected attention (by myself specifically) and a baby* that was born with D.O.W.N.S. syndrome

*In order


He makes a good point.

Though champs only has enough content for one character, so it might die off without a quick update. Which is only fitting for a dev/publisher that charges people to stress test their servers.

RiffRaff:
Star Wars MMO will have voice entirely voice acted interactions and should have meaningful story lines.

Hopefully that doesn't turn into a joke.

it won't be so long as lucas has as little input as possible :D

WoW has high fantasy that reads like it was written by a English major making $20/hour. With that being my first experience, I've never had high hopes for MMO story lines. Which is fine... in MMOs you create your own story, by where you go, what you do, guilds you join, friends you make, etc.

Maybe CO does have bad writing but no worse or better than the rest of the pack. I'm the sort that is yeah yeah give me the experience and crappy green quest equipment and I'm done with it. So maybe I'm not picky.

Voltano:
Well I like some element of serious events going on in my game like anyone, though one thing I notice in the video games coming out today is that there is too many serious events in them. The only game I played recently which would qualify would have to be "Prototype", and that game is filled with emo drama (in my opinion, but it is a fun game).

What is wrong with a game making fun of itself 24-7? The only games I can think of that throw in some humor are JRPGs and even that is being thinned out by the "Let's be more like FF7" games. Even then the serious "JRPGs" can throw in a funny moment or two, like in "Persona 4" with the curry eating scene.

Very good point, but you failed to mention the scene where the guys dress as girls. Disappointing lol. I do like humour in MMO's but in my opinion the story needs to be more on the serious side, so that you appreciate the funny bits more.

You'd love it if halfway through a level, all the skills sets were remastered...

WillItWork:
Then you're prolly looking forward to SW:TOR. I know I am. Hah, be the centre of your own multiplayer movie? Right on.

See, it's exactly this that worries me. They're going for far out of their way to make sure that everyone is "THE ONE(tm)" that the stories are either going to be so watered down and generic that they could fit any possible choice the player can make, so railroaded that everyone you talk to has a 50/50 chance of having the same story you do, or so short that it's over before you've really got into it.

Also, don't forget - full voice acting is a LOT of finance that could have gone to the writers instead...

Omega NZ:

Very good point, but you failed to mention the scene where the guys dress as girls. Disappointing lol. I do like humour in MMO's but in my opinion the story needs to be more on the serious side, so that you appreciate the funny bits more.

I didn't play Persona 4, so I only saw that scene when my Brother was playing it. I'll admit for JRPGs, the voice acting in the game is very well done and I found it hilarious with the curry scene. Just seeing the protagonist cough and collapse like that is funny for me.

There are games though that are pure silliness and quite fun to play, granted the only two that come to mind are "Sam & Max" and the "Monkey Island" series, but the only other game I seen released lately that could rival their silliness would have to be "The Bard's Tale".

Though it is a matter of opinion on how everyone prefers their games. I think it would be nice if there are more games with a sense of humor in them, though I know it's not for everyone.

Chipperz:

See, it's exactly this that worries me. They're going for far out of their way to make sure that everyone is "THE ONE(tm)"

Not sure about the Star Wars MMO but I've heard this issue come up a couple of times re: Champs and the only time where this really happens, I've seen, is at the end of the tutorial zone, and I thought it was more of the tongue-in-cheek humor than anything to be taken seriously. I mean it makes clear later that though you may be a super-hero you are NOT one of the Champions, not yet anyway. Maybe one other time during a Nemesis mission at level 27 this sort of thing happens, again in a humorous light, but the AoC comparison I don't think applies.

An odd review, anyone who has read or is even dimly aware of (in the sense of being in the same galaxy as) golden and silver age comics can see the theme they are going for (which as an aside is entierly consistent with a pen and paper game).

In terms of inconsistencies, every MMO in existence is riddled with them, it's the price of packing content together. You just have to get past that.

Bottom Line: If you want gritty superhero antics play Batman - Arkham Asylum, if you want a randomly fun superhero game which doesn't take itself too seriously then play Champions Online.

Fearzone:

Chipperz:

See, it's exactly this that worries me. They're going for far out of their way to make sure that everyone is "THE ONE(tm)"

Not sure about the Star Wars MMO but I've heard this issue come up a couple of times re: Champs and the only time where this really happens, I've seen, is at the end of the tutorial zone, and I thought it was more of the tongue-in-cheek humor than anything to be taken seriously. I mean it makes clear later that though you may be a super-hero you are NOT one of the Champions, not yet anyway. Maybe one other time during a Nemesis mission at level 27 this sort of thing happens, again in a humorous light, but the AoC comparison I don't think applies.

Nah, I'm talking about The Old Republic. They've already talked about having the Bounty Hunter starting area as a huge and rare Bounty Hunter contest that your character will win. Yes, you won the amazing and hard Bounty Hunter Contest! So did every other Bounty Hunter that you see outside of the starting zone.

Champions more or less averts this (apart from the starting area), and even then the only bit that you really do on your own is the battle with Black Talon. Thanks to the game's more tongue-in-cheek story telling, I don't feel like I am "THE ONE(tm)" at any point in the game, so it's not such a big deal to me.

toapat:

Gildan Bladeborn:

toapat:

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

Guild Wars.

still relies on equipment and build setup

Did you just say that lackluster pvp is the definition of good competitive play? Maybe you needs to look up the definition of lackluster. www.dictionary.com

KarmicToast:

toapat:

Gildan Bladeborn:

toapat:

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

Guild Wars.

still relies on equipment and build setup

Did you just say that lackluster pvp is the definition of good competitive play? Maybe you needs to look up the definition of lackluster. www.dictionary.com

for MMOs, sub par is as good as it can get if its not Planetside because there is more then just the skill variable.

toapat:

KarmicToast:

toapat:

Gildan Bladeborn:

toapat:

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

Guild Wars.

still relies on equipment and build setup

Did you just say that lackluster pvp is the definition of good competitive play? Maybe you needs to look up the definition of lackluster. www.dictionary.com

for MMOs, sub par is as good as it can get if its not Planetside because there is more then just the skill variable.

Sounds like a sad world you live in. I think you need to try an MMO other than WoW...

KarmicToast:

toapat:

KarmicToast:

toapat:

Gildan Bladeborn:

toapat:

you understand that Lackluster PvP is pretty much the definition of good compeditive play for any RPG?

find me an MMO other then Planetside with real compeditive multiplayer that doesnt care about how you are doing in the storyline or how your equipment is set up

Guild Wars.

still relies on equipment and build setup

Did you just say that lackluster pvp is the definition of good competitive play? Maybe you needs to look up the definition of lackluster. www.dictionary.com

for MMOs, sub par is as good as it can get if its not Planetside because there is more then just the skill variable.

Sounds like a sad world you live in. I think you need to try an MMO other than WoW...

i have played other MMOs, their pvp all blows, only one that is good is Planetside because it doesnt care about what your armor, weapons, and build are, you are in the future, so you drop tanks where you need em and tear down walls

"Cutscenes are usually out of the question both for reasons of budget and practicality."

Fair enough on the reasoning of budget, but practicality? In what sense does that mean? If you're talking in terms of development time constraints, then fair enough, but if it's from a gameplay view, I don't quite buy that. FFXI makes excellent use of cutscenes throughout, so it's definitely feasible in-game. Maybe it's not in this particular game, because admittedly I haven't played it, so I don't know what limits there are to the characters and NPCs.
But then again, like I said, if we're talking about it being impractical from a development point of view, well, I'm arguing a moot point, lol.

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