I'm Still Waiting for My MMO

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I'm Still Waiting for My MMO

You never forget your first.

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I suggest - for the concept, not the execution - Face of Mankind.

That said, this is pretty much my dream as well ... An MMO that goes this one step further ... And doesn't fail when it comes to treating their customers well, when the game faces death for the gazillionth time ...

So how about EVE Online? And before you say it's boring, it is only boring to those who either don't have the time to understand its mechanics or are simply uninterested in advancing past the initial hour to two hour long tutorial sequence.

I've been playing Eve for the past few months. I think it's good fun, though I might just be crazy. It certainly isn't for everyone, but, as far as I am concerned, it is very much what an MMO should be: a gigantic playable universe that is shaped by the players. All they really need to do is make the first hours of the game more appealing and it would probably get more people to stick with it. :o

The reason you feel that way vis a vis MMO's having more potential than FPS's is because you are confusing a genre with a perspective. FPS games have certain limits as its always going to be a guy with a gun,that limits just how different these games can be as we've seen with the glut of COD-clones. First-person games in general? Much more potential as there are far fewer limits. MMO's have massive potential as the only limits are that they have to involve loads of people. MMORPG's? Less potential as now you have to involve all the chicanery involve with RPG's mixed in with loads of people, that limits just how different they can be, as we've seen with so many MMORPG's feeling like WoW lately. You are comparing FPS's with MMO's when you should really be comparing FPS's with MMORPG's.

The very fact that the terms MMO and MMORPG feel synonymous (and FPS with First-person) is the very problem with MMOs (and First-person games) today.

I've given up on there ever being another Everquest. All the mechanics that encouraged a vibrant community, the things that drove you in desperation into the arms of strangers, are considered design flaws these days. They probably are design flaws, it was terrible when you couldn't find one of those helpful strangers. But without the community what has an MMO got left?

I also personally hate voice chat. It completely wrecks immersion, but now the gameplay is too hectic to really chat via text. We used to make fun of bards for having to press a button every second and how difficult it was for them to talk like that. We're all bards now...

Oh well, I'm also enjoying The Secret World. I'll probably play through the single player content, maybe do a handful of dungeons, and then drift away. Same as with Rift, same as with whatever MMO I played before that. Everquest had me for five years, I still love it dearly, but it's never going to happen again. I'll enjoy the new games for what they are.

(I'm kinda looking forward to Salem. That one looks different.)

That pretty much sums up my feelings about MMORPGs. I love the concept, but they can never hold me for long. WoW held me for a year or so, and half that was out of sheer inertia ("my friends are there ... it's just what I do") rather than any real enjoyment. I'd rather get lost in an Elder Scrolls/Fallout/L.A. Noir/Red Dead Redemption-type world. I get a LOT more enjoyment out of those.

I'd really like an MMO with the feel of one of those games, and without the repetitive grind that seems all but inevitable in typical MMORPGs. And, no, I don't have much faith that Elder Scrolls Online will be the solution, either, unfortunately. (Prove me Wrong, Bethesda! PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!)

I loved the ideas behind The Secret World-and they really have done a pretty great job with it-but after a few weeks of playing the public beta, it just started to feel bland and repetitive and WoWish. (Just like SWToR before that.)

::sigh::

When's </>Dishonored[/i] coming out, again?

I just want to say that Ready Player One was awesome, and it made me want to play MMOs. Then I remembered that 90% of the story has nothing to do with MMOs mechanics presently, but even so brought me back to the old .hack sign days.

First Person Shooter fan?
Fan of MMOs?
Want to have persistence and consequence?

Can't believe you didn't mention the upcoming Dust514.
If you haven;t heard of it, check it out.
Is in the same universe as EVE, FPS, MMO.
Ticks all the boxes - I'm definitely looking forward to it.

I actually just picked up my Final Fantasy XI account this summer after five years away from it. Yeah go ahead and laugh, but in my experience there haven't been many games I've played with such an awesome community, even in MMOs. Most of them these days seem too obsessed with PVP rather than cooperation - If I wanted a competitive game I wouldn't play an MMO.

FFXI is on its tenth year running now and it's still pretty huge (helped by the fact that XIV sucked). They've even announced a fifth expansion pack for next year.

Dennis Scimeca:
I'm Still Waiting for My MMO

Go heavy, and go hard. MMOs, to my mind more so than most genres, have grown and are growing stale very quickly.

Have you peeked a sneak at some of the more alternative offerings? As someone who has been on a search similar to yours (but with far less patience for traditional MMOs), I've amassed a small list of games that at least partially answer to my particular desires:

Vendetta Online has done away with the click target and press number-keys setup in favour of an active, fully twitch-based combat experience. Combined with a *very* dynamic world model (AI that expand and seize territory, shifting borders, transports that increase the numbers of guarding ships along heavily player-pirated routes, station blockades, a dynamic faction system that allows players to, with much work, switch sides, or become pariahs and outcasts from all social order, possibilities to influence item availability, etc), many unconventional and hardcore mechanics, a player corps that create new mission content, and an exceedingly nice community, it represents most things that most modern MMOs do not.

Darkwind Online is an post-apocalyptic open world MMO based on Car Wars, is highly tactical and skill-based, and has a *great* deal of unconventional and hardcore implementations. You don't control a single character, but a gang of up to 40-50 developing characters, and all your little dudes can age, grow old, become drug addicts, lose limbs in battle, fall ill, starve if not given access to food, and also die permanently. In combination with a very dynamic world (players can build camps in the wilderness, affect prices and access to materials, equipment, food and gasoline by attacking trader NPCs, or by trading themselves, drive away or attract higher numbers of pirate gangs, become branded as outlaws themselves, etc, etc), the best gaming community I've ever been a part of, very entertaining, physics-based and tactical combat, and possibilities for players to contribute to mission content, discuss and change some game rules, and affect the implementations of upcoming content, Darkwind is an entirely un-MMO-like virtual world.

Face of Mankind, mentioned above, is rather bare-bones in many respects, but also unlike most massive online games. Full twitch combat, an almost entirely player-run world, dynamic factions, factional warfare, all very hardcore, to the point of brutal but also to the point of refreshingly different.

Pirates of the Burning Sea has many of the trappings of the standard MMO genre, but also some surprises, a very different economic model, player-conquerable ports, and a very dynamic endgame.

And then there's always Haven & Hearth. I'm not saying you, or anyone, should play it. But it certainly is different ;)

I had been that kid who read the Dungeons and Dragons sourcebooks but never had a group to play with

I'm so glad I wasn't the only freakazoid who did that.

Dennis Scimeca:
I'm Still Waiting for My MMO

You never forget your first.

Read Full Article

The supposed "growth" of the MMO genre has really been more of a distillation. They've boiled it down to the most absolutely critical (and profitable) gameplay elements, and the rest are filtered out bit by bit. Or maybe it's more of a sharpening... and every time you sharpen a blade, you're removing metal. Or, as with evolution, some potentially useful genetic information gets tossed aside as "junk" because it wasn't the most immediately necessary trait this time 'round. Hell, pick your metaphor.

MMOs used to be worlds. And players paid subscriptions as rent in those virtual worlds. I could go with the tired old "sandbox versus theme park" comparison, too. They weren't guided tours of preconstructed content. They were thematic toolkits for exploring a world with which many of your players were familiar (Star Wars) or maybe not (Everquest, in my case).

The biggest (and worst) portion of the world that's been cut in nearly every MMO? Non-heroic, non-combat gameplay. The ability to be something other than the "hero of the universe" or "slayer of the Big Bads." Crafting wasn't just a diversion or a money sink. It could be a full-time way of engaging the game (and the game engaging you right back). You didn't have to live out the life of a main character. You could live your own. You could be "just a guy" in the Star Wars universe, for instance, instead of having to be Luke or Vader.

(Something that hasn't been streamlined? Prices. Subscription fees have increased or stayed the same. Because the early MMOs got us all used to the idea of continuous payment... to the point that we'll pay continuously for a stagnant experience. We stopped demanding worlds, and they were happy to stop providing them.)

I never will forget my first and last. World of Warcraft was my first true MMO and god dammit that feeling of being in a whole other world with players running around you and doing your own thing... the feeling is just indescribable.

Sadly, I've tried getting that feeling back by making new characters and trying out different MMOs but it's never coming back.

Ayjona:
Pirates of the Burning Sea has many of the trappings of the standard MMO genre, but also some surprises, a very different economic model, player-conquerable ports, and a very dynamic endgame.

I played in the beta and early on as a Freetrader. This game fell prey to the two biggest problems in any "world PvP" system: unbalanced sides, and unbalanced classes.

Unbalanced sides, well, that's an obvious problem. Once the game slants toward a particular side (in terms of numbers), it's all over but the crying. Having a small number of highly-skilled players can't save you from the fact that the other team has enough players on it to keep the pressure on 24-7. Zerg doesn't win by running over the opponent, it wins by flowing around them.

Unbalanced classes ensured that even on the "winning" side, fun was reserved for a particular group. By that, I mean "Ships of the Line." When it came to port battles, it didn't matter how much you wanted to play. If you weren't a top-shelf Naval Officer with a well-outfitted SoL, you were treated like a liability to the team... and what's worse is they were right. A freetrader effectively had nothing to contribute to the fight that was better than having another huge ship firing on the enemy.

So, the "world PvP" quickly became "Wolfpacks around ports picking on FTs" and "Naval Officers getting to play the 'real game' in their giant ships."

Well, good news is, a couple of the classic MMOs are now free to play, like the original EverQuest, or Everquest II, which I feel should have been as big as WoW, but it's requirements were so obscene at the time that even top of the line PCs couldn't run it.

You can't say just say MMO when you mean MMORPG. Planetside is an MMO that just happens to be an FPS.

PaxCorpus:
So how about EVE Online? And before you say it's boring, it is only boring to those who either don't have the time to understand its mechanics or are simply uninterested in advancing past the initial hour to two hour long tutorial sequence.

A big drawback of EVE is that you're in a ship the whole time so it might not be everyone's cup of tea. I understand that you can around in space stations now though, but still.

DugMachine:
I never will forget my first and last. World of Warcraft was my first true MMO and god dammit that feeling of being in a whole other world with players running around you and doing your own thing... the feeling is just indescribable.

Sadly, I've tried getting that feeling back by making new characters and trying out different MMOs but it's never coming back.

Ahh this is a sad realization many MMO players come to. Unfortunately once you learn how to play an MMO, they cease to become a fantasy, you realize the system behind it, and even when it comes to playing a completely different MMO, the feeling can't be recreated because the facade has faded.

In that respect WoW has spoilt any MMO that tries to be anything remotely like it, it would take a truly completely innovative MMO, I'm talking a completely unique set of systems, archetypes, combat, atmosphere, environment etc to give veterans(of which there are a LOT more thanks to WoW) that feeling again.

Zing:

DugMachine:
I never will forget my first and last. World of Warcraft was my first true MMO and god dammit that feeling of being in a whole other world with players running around you and doing your own thing... the feeling is just indescribable.

Sadly, I've tried getting that feeling back by making new characters and trying out different MMOs but it's never coming back.

Ahh this is a sad realization many MMO players come to. Unfortunately once you learn how to play an MMO, they cease to become a fantasy, you realize the system behind it, and even when it comes to playing a completely different MMO, the feeling can't be recreated because the facade has faded.

In that respect WoW has spoilt any MMO that tries to be anything remotely like it, it would take a truly completely innovative MMO, I'm talking a completely unique set of systems, archetypes, combat, atmosphere, environment etc to give veterans(of which there are a LOT more thanks to WoW) that feeling again.

Yeah, at the moment WoW is my last MMO and if I ever need a fix i'll go straight back to it. I'm hoping their secret project Titan will be something different... but my hopes aren't too high. I'll stick with my TF2 and indie games for now :D

DugMachine:

Zing:

DugMachine:
I never will forget my first and last. World of Warcraft was my first true MMO and god dammit that feeling of being in a whole other world with players running around you and doing your own thing... the feeling is just indescribable.

Sadly, I've tried getting that feeling back by making new characters and trying out different MMOs but it's never coming back.

Ahh this is a sad realization many MMO players come to. Unfortunately once you learn how to play an MMO, they cease to become a fantasy, you realize the system behind it, and even when it comes to playing a completely different MMO, the feeling can't be recreated because the facade has faded.

In that respect WoW has spoilt any MMO that tries to be anything remotely like it, it would take a truly completely innovative MMO, I'm talking a completely unique set of systems, archetypes, combat, atmosphere, environment etc to give veterans(of which there are a LOT more thanks to WoW) that feeling again.

Yeah, at the moment WoW is my last MMO and if I ever need a fix i'll go straight back to it. I'm hoping their secret project Titan will be something different... but my hopes aren't too high. I'll stick with my TF2 and indie games for now :D

That's where I would put any hope, but i'm not putting much thought into it.

WoW has become very much a corporate, streamlined, money machine that has no sense of community(PVE OR PVP) and I don't see anything to suggest that titan wouldn't be more of the same in a different skin, plus Greg Street is working on it, which is not a good sign. Buuut, that said, Blizzard have some of their top veteran devs working on it, guys that made WCIII, Starcraft and Vanilla WoW/BC so exceptional, so perhaps there is hope.

As a beta participant in GW2, I can say it may very well shape into something special. It is certainly heading in a right direction.

I read the article that Dennis posted and I find it a bit strange.

The Secret World has broken the mould of the modern MMO.

Yes it has its shooting elements and yes it has its gear grind but and its a big but, it has investigation quests.

These quests range from the simple to the diabolical.

When a game has a web browser built in so you can use the internet to research information on quests or find the translation of a specific language or cipher, but still expect you to translate the document, then it is different.

Investigation quests can take hours to do,and that's not the whole quest but one part of it.

I do have a problem with the Secret world and that's the level of content,for Funcom to have anything worthwhile in a few months even, they must have started the work years ago and why wasn't it in the final game then.

An excellent game but a niche market,with some glaring problems at the moment.

A chat system which dies on a regular basis.
A targeting system from the dark ages.
A UI which is below the standard for today.
Ohh and my pet grievance, a vertical bag which can get so long you miss part of it on screen.

I missed out on the fact that some major quests bug out on a regular basis,but this can be corrected by a change of server shard (instance).

Even with these problems a great game,with a steep learning curve.

Planetside 2

That is all.

bobmd13:
I read the article that Dennis posted and I find it a bit strange.

The Secret World has broken the mould of the modern MMO.

Yes it has its shooting elements and yes it has its gear grind but and its a big but, it has investigation quests.

These quests range from the simple to the diabolical.

When a game has a web browser built in so you can use the internet to research information on quests or find the translation of a specific language or cipher, but still expect you to translate the document, then it is different.

Investigation quests can take hours to do,and that's not the whole quest but one part of it.

I do have a problem with the Secret world and that's the level of content,for Funcom to have anything worthwhile in a few months even, they must have started the work years ago and why wasn't it in the final game then.

An excellent game but a niche market,with some glaring problems at the moment.

A chat system which dies on a regular basis.
A targeting system from the dark ages.
A UI which is below the standard for today.
Ohh and my pet grievance, a vertical bag which can get so long you miss part of it on screen.

I missed out on the fact that some major quests bug out on a regular basis,but this can be corrected by a change of server shard (instance).

Even with these problems a great game,with a steep learning curve.

I have to agree. I picked up The Secret World because I heard good things and I am finding it very different and very exciting.

The investigation/mystery missions are excellent and the game even has fake websites that you have to study to get clues and can read for extra background and lore.

The gameplay is great too with a character wheel that lets you play however the hell you want but also a little guidance in the form of 'decks' Which you can fill and receive a class costume as a reward.

I love it at the moment and my only regret is that my friend clocked on that I was playing it and now I have to wait until he comes back from the garage to progress. :p

Dastardly:

Dennis Scimeca:
I'm Still Waiting for My MMO

You never forget your first.

Read Full Article

The supposed "growth" of the MMO genre has really been more of a distillation. They've boiled it down to the most absolutely critical (and profitable) gameplay elements, and the rest are filtered out bit by bit. Or maybe it's more of a sharpening... and every time you sharpen a blade, you're removing metal. Or, as with evolution, some potentially useful genetic information gets tossed aside as "junk" because it wasn't the most immediately necessary trait this time 'round. Hell, pick your metaphor.

MMOs used to be worlds. And players paid subscriptions as rent in those virtual worlds. I could go with the tired old "sandbox versus theme park" comparison, too. They weren't guided tours of preconstructed content. They were thematic toolkits for exploring a world with which many of your players were familiar (Star Wars) or maybe not (Everquest, in my case).

The biggest (and worst) portion of the world that's been cut in nearly every MMO? Non-heroic, non-combat gameplay. The ability to be something other than the "hero of the universe" or "slayer of the Big Bads." Crafting wasn't just a diversion or a money sink. It could be a full-time way of engaging the game (and the game engaging you right back). You didn't have to live out the life of a main character. You could live your own. You could be "just a guy" in the Star Wars universe, for instance, instead of having to be Luke or Vader.

(Something that hasn't been streamlined? Prices. Subscription fees have increased or stayed the same. Because the early MMOs got us all used to the idea of continuous payment... to the point that we'll pay continuously for a stagnant experience. We stopped demanding worlds, and they were happy to stop providing them.)

you have really hit it on the head. they pretty much will have to design them from the ground up to get back to what was lost. a world to live in where the little things are vialble not merely time sinks

kyosai7:
Well, good news is, a couple of the classic MMOs are now free to play, like the original EverQuest, or Everquest II, which I feel should have been as big as WoW, but it's requirements were so obscene at the time that even top of the line PCs couldn't run it.

I played Everquest the other day because I'd heard so much about it, and boy was I disappointed. It's probably because its such an old game, but the controls, the interface, basically everything was crap. The screen is cluttered with a dozen boxes, it's hard to find what you're looking for, and even talking to NPC's a chore. If I've clicked on you, that means I want to talk to you, why do I have to type hello to start the conversation, and keep typing other words to trigger the rest of your dialog. It's not immersive, it's flow breaking because every five seconds, I get ripped out of the game to have to type in commands. I'm not talking with your NPC's I'm controlling them via text commands, which means all the NPC's might have well have been robots in game. I couldn't even get past an hour before frustration set in and I couldn't take it anymore. If EverQuest II has the same kind of systems then no wonder they didn't do as well as WoW, and it wasn't because of PC requirements.

"This and that Technology tree allows you to create a character that is exactly how you want him to be!"
We've heard this in different MMORPG Teasers, Trailers and the like and its all Bullshit.

There is one way to create a Character that does best for different tasks. There will be toons of certain Professions that will be leveled, skilled and equipped in the same exact way because its the best to perform certain tasks. You see a toon which is a damage dealing Class? You will most likely see him having the Weapons which deal the most damage. If those happen to be swords, he will have Swords. Someone who fits out his toon with a sword and an Axe because he thinks it looks better will be rather alone on the Server. And he will most likely be fucked over in PvP, or whatever other task he wants to do.

So you will see many many People with toons which all look the same, because they have gear, perks, leveling or whatever to make the toon the best it could be for its particular task.

Quite a lot of MMOs have instance, in which you have Teams which must consist of certain classes, most likely and Tank and a healer among them. A Crowd Controller, a damagedealer as well in some cases. You'll have to do stuff, like switching a device on that makes the Boss vulnerable or something. Avoiding "frenzy" periods where that Boss would run around and attack everyone and doesn't respond to taunts or other measures to keep him attacking the tank instead of the healer. You'll have to be at certain Points of the "Arena" at certain times, maybe to try and avoid aggro from Adds.

Another Point very common in mmorpgs is the backwards leveling. You can create a toon that is immensly strong for a rather low level. You can have a toon that clears out a lowlevel instance all by himself.
You can't do that when leveled up fully.
Through the course of the Game, there is less and less stuff you can do that is useful for your toon alone. Eventually, you will have to rely on teams to do everything with you because alone you're too weak to do anything.

Most MMORPGs are like that and if you played one of them, you played them all.

Dastardly:

Ayjona:
Pirates of the Burning Sea has many of the trappings of the standard MMO genre, but also some surprises, a very different economic model, player-conquerable ports, and a very dynamic endgame.

I played in the beta and early on as a Freetrader. This game fell prey to the two biggest problems in any "world PvP" system: unbalanced sides, and unbalanced classes.

Unbalanced sides, well, that's an obvious problem. Once the game slants toward a particular side (in terms of numbers), it's all over but the crying. Having a small number of highly-skilled players can't save you from the fact that the other team has enough players on it to keep the pressure on 24-7. Zerg doesn't win by running over the opponent, it wins by flowing around them.

Unbalanced classes ensured that even on the "winning" side, fun was reserved for a particular group. By that, I mean "Ships of the Line." When it came to port battles, it didn't matter how much you wanted to play. If you weren't a top-shelf Naval Officer with a well-outfitted SoL, you were treated like a liability to the team... and what's worse is they were right. A freetrader effectively had nothing to contribute to the fight that was better than having another huge ship firing on the enemy.

So, the "world PvP" quickly became "Wolfpacks around ports picking on FTs" and "Naval Officers getting to play the 'real game' in their giant ships."

Lest you were not a pirate at launch we had no line ships, our writ ships were a joke in port battles, well that and it was lultastic to a NO to drag your 1.5 million gold p herc, while some of your team is in deliverance or something silly.

FTs can cry all they want but pirates of the burning seas just treated pirates like jokes, granted pirates live fast died young and a pirate vs the navy is silly in and of itself, but when you have pirates as a playable faction it does imply they will be a viable faction.

We made good goes at it but when push came to shove the NOs simply put their foot down, we never won a pb that the nats took seriously. Half the time their ques would not even fill up for pirate pbs, well that could have been partially an effect of "off hours" flipping, but still if the nats wanted a port even if it was 3 am on a work day they would get a fleet there for for it.

Now days we got sols they got sols, when i was playing awhile back, 4th rates and whatnot seemed to be getting phased out or some major changes to line ship bundles and etc or something. So many people playing cross servers you could swap ships or get free ships i had a guy give me a mace off his nat just for lulz.

Even for the old school mega imbalances, the game is alot more even now days than back then. And i agree that end game in potbs can be far far more interesting than the end game in most of the mmos i have played. Potbs is partially dependent on some amount of balance in the factions, else one will steamroll.

But your whole life revolves around that end game what ports are flipped, how many points you put toward it, almost every action you can do has meaning in potbs, even if its simply killing npcs around a port to raise tensions, or actual pvp on the open seas.

Most pvp in games is so regulated its near impossible to pvp, old school mmos simply made a server where every character was pvp period. there were no conditions or rules of off limits areas, my first mmo the first time i logged into the pvp server i was camp killed endlessly until i had no items but a wooden starter weapon that was no drop, think i got to level 2 maybe just killing a rabbit and getting a few hits on the level 30 that was camping me.

My friends guild on that server once held the most popular leveling dungeon for an entire week, they kept guarding it in shifts killing anyone that entered. at some point the rest of the server decided to bury any bad feelings they had about anything else and all went en mass to that dungeon and evicted my buddies guild, but not without a heck of a fight.....

Some games are getting back to that old school pvp idea where reps are earned and you did not need killboards and the like, you carved your name on trail of corpses you leave pure and simple.

Me personally i am waiting for a shadowrun mmo, a full 3d sandbox one, player driven econ, pvp, not too enthused by the current sr online stuff to be sure.

doctorjackal777:
I played Everquest the other day because I'd heard so much about it, and boy was I disappointed. It's probably because its such an old game, but the controls, the interface, basically everything was crap. The screen is cluttered with a dozen boxes, it's hard to find what you're looking for, and even talking to NPC's a chore. If I've clicked on you, that means I want to talk to you, why do I have to type hello to start the conversation, and keep typing other words to trigger the rest of your dialog. It's not immersive, it's flow breaking because every five seconds, I get ripped out of the game to have to type in commands. I'm not talking with your NPC's I'm controlling them via text commands, which means all the NPC's might have well have been robots in game. I couldn't even get past an hour before frustration set in and I couldn't take it anymore. If EverQuest II has the same kind of systems then no wonder they didn't do as well as WoW, and it wasn't because of PC requirements.

This is a MUD system shinign through, talking to NPCs with /say commands. Everquest is in some ways a little like those early Sierra adventure games that were halfway between text adentures and point and clicks. Man, it took us months to figure out that thing on the beach in King's Quest 2 was a "trident" and not a pitchfork or any other word we could come up with...

But the EQ system had its benefits. You could talk to any NPC, you could give any item to any NPC, even monsters, and there was no quest log at all. That meant quests could be hidden absolutely anywhere. Secret World investigation missions ain't got nothing on old EQ quests.

Yal:

doctorjackal777:
I played Everquest the other day because I'd heard so much about it, and boy was I disappointed. It's probably because its such an old game, but the controls, the interface, basically everything was crap. The screen is cluttered with a dozen boxes, it's hard to find what you're looking for, and even talking to NPC's a chore. If I've clicked on you, that means I want to talk to you, why do I have to type hello to start the conversation, and keep typing other words to trigger the rest of your dialog. It's not immersive, it's flow breaking because every five seconds, I get ripped out of the game to have to type in commands. I'm not talking with your NPC's I'm controlling them via text commands, which means all the NPC's might have well have been robots in game. I couldn't even get past an hour before frustration set in and I couldn't take it anymore. If EverQuest II has the same kind of systems then no wonder they didn't do as well as WoW, and it wasn't because of PC requirements.

This is a MUD system shinign through, talking to NPCs with /say commands. Everquest is in some ways a little like those early Sierra adventure games that were halfway between text adentures and point and clicks. Man, it took us months to figure out that thing on the beach in King's Quest 2 was a "trident" and not a pitchfork or any other word we could come up with...

But the EQ system had its benefits. You could talk to any NPC, you could give any item to any NPC, even monsters, and there was no quest log at all. That meant quests could be hidden absolutely anywhere. Secret World investigation missions ain't got nothing on old EQ quests.

I see, I suppose that makes sense. I guess I never really got into those kinds of games, which is why having that mechanic in an MMO is frustrating to me. But I'm surprised you mentioned no quest log as a benefit, how is that a good thing? Yes, having hidden quests is interesting and would reward exploration but really? When I have a lot to do in a day I'll make a list, so that I remember to get everything done, why would you not want that feature in your game. You can have multiple quests going at once, why would you not want a concise list to help you keep track of where you were in each one. I can just imagine coming back after a short hiatus to the game, forgetting what quests I was on and what I was doing, and then just turning it off again.

Captcha: small fries
Now I'm hungry~

doctorjackal777:
But I'm surprised you mentioned no quest log as a benefit, how is that a good thing? Yes, having hidden quests is interesting and would reward exploration but really? When I have a lot to do in a day I'll make a list, so that I remember to get everything done, why would you not want that feature in your game. You can have multiple quests going at once, why would you not want a concise list to help you keep track of where you were in each one. I can just imagine coming back after a short hiatus to the game, forgetting what quests I was on and what I was doing, and then just turning it off again.

No quest log is one of those things that is a design flaw but also sort of feature but also definitely a flaw...

One of that game's quests, the rogue "epic weapon" quest (it was pretty epic ten years ago, they out a lot of work into those quests), has you working for dude named Stanos. He's in hiding, before you came on the scene he foiled an assassination attempt and made rather a lot of enemies. A dark elf general had hired one of the human rogue guilds to kill an ambassador in a human city, hoping to start a war. Stanos felt this would be bad for business, betrayed the assassin and now the guild and the dark elf both want him dead. Stanos has a plan for you to kill the dark elf and get the heat off him, and you can do that quest. You'll get sweet dagger for your troubles.

Or... Half the world wants Stanos dead, he's standing right in front of you, and you've got a knife. There's no indication you should follow this route, but if you've read the story it makes perfect sense, and it turns you can and it works. Kill Stanos and you can claim a reward from either the assassin's son or the dark elf (who is actually a raid boss who will murder anyone who tries to talk to him). It took ages for anyone to work this out, I think it was at least a year after the primary plotline was solved. It was awesome.

Now, you could theoretically do this with a quest tracker in place. But I honestly can't ever remember a game that let you just completely ignore your tracker and go do a completely different quest with the same characters. Quest logs are great when they remind the player what the player wants to do next. Except more commonly they just tell the player what to do, and that's sort of a shame.

Yal:

doctorjackal777:
But I'm surprised you mentioned no quest log as a benefit, how is that a good thing? Yes, having hidden quests is interesting and would reward exploration but really? When I have a lot to do in a day I'll make a list, so that I remember to get everything done, why would you not want that feature in your game. You can have multiple quests going at once, why would you not want a concise list to help you keep track of where you were in each one. I can just imagine coming back after a short hiatus to the game, forgetting what quests I was on and what I was doing, and then just turning it off again.

No quest log is one of those things that is a design flaw but also sort of feature but also definitely a flaw...

One of that game's quests, the rogue "epic weapon" quest (it was pretty epic ten years ago, they out a lot of work into those quests), has you working for dude named Stanos. He's in hiding, before you came on the scene he foiled an assassination attempt and made rather a lot of enemies. A dark elf general had hired one of the human rogue guilds to kill an ambassador in a human city, hoping to start a war. Stanos felt this would be bad for business, betrayed the assassin and now the guild and the dark elf both want him dead. Stanos has a plan for you to kill the dark elf and get the heat off him, and you can do that quest. You'll get sweet dagger for your troubles.

Or... Half the world wants Stanos dead, he's standing right in front of you, and you've got a knife. There's no indication you should follow this route, but if you've read the story it makes perfect sense, and it turns you can and it works. Kill Stanos and you can claim a reward from either the assassin's son or the dark elf (who is actually a raid boss who will murder anyone who tries to talk to him). It took ages for anyone to work this out, I think it was at least a year after the primary plotline was solved. It was awesome.

Now, you could theoretically do this with a quest tracker in place. But I honestly can't ever remember a game that let you just completely ignore your tracker and go do a completely different quest with the same characters. Quest logs are great when they remind the player what the player wants to do next. Except more commonly they just tell the player what to do, and that's sort of a shame.

I totally get that, but if it were me I'd just word the quest information carefully. Have something like "resolve the issue between Stanos and the guild." The straight forward answer would be to follow what Stanos wants you to do, but if you're the kind of person who thinks outside the box, then 'resolve' could mean something different. However you want to 'resolve' the issue is up to you, and depending on what way you chose the quest would branch in a different direction.
Or alternatively reward the player for exploration by having alternate outcomes come up in NPC conversation. Stanos hired you to kill someone, but on your way to do that you hear about what a douche he is, and how it might be better if he was the one that died instead. Then it gets you thinking, hey maybe I don't have to follow his orders, maybe I can take him down instead. There are options available, and all the quest tracker needs to do is keep track of what you've already done, and what information you've collected relating to it, rather than harping on what the game wants you to do next.

WoahDan:
The reason you feel that way vis a vis MMO's having more potential than FPS's is because you are confusing a genre with a perspective...

I specifically called out Portal and Antichamber by way of dismissing games that have a first person perspective but which are not first person shooters. I was only talking about FPS games specifically, and why I give them leeway which I do not grant to MMOs.

ad5x5:
First Person Shooter fan? Fan of MMOs? Want to have persistence and consequence? Can't believe you didn't mention the upcoming Dust514.

I covered DUST 514 at E3 and had a long conversation with CCP about how it is going to integrate with and affect EVE Online. Perhaps I will write about that when the time is right...

Dastardly:

The biggest (and worst) portion of the world that's been cut in nearly every MMO? Non-heroic, non-combat gameplay. The ability to be something other than the "hero of the universe" or "slayer of the Big Bads." Crafting wasn't just a diversion or a money sink. It could be a full-time way of engaging the game (and the game engaging you right back). You didn't have to live out the life of a main character. You could live your own.

This. Think about the crafter in Star Wars Galaxies and then think about persistence and consequence. When a weapons or armor crafter on the Starsider server developed a reputation for quality, people from all over the server would come to them specifically for their gear. Persistence of reputation.

And as a consequence of that crafter doing really high-quality work, they effectively made the game more fun to play for thousands of people by giving them weapons which did more DPS or lasted longer than other weapons crafted by lesser-skilled artisans.

octafish:
You can't say just say MMO when you mean MMORPG. Planetside is an MMO that just happens to be an FPS.

I recently got into a very long conversation with someone on Twitter about this. Technically, online is redundant. You can't be a massively multiplayer game nowadays without being online unless we're talking about a massive LAN session.

For better or worse the general gamer audience understands MMO to mean EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, Anarchy Online, World of Warcraft, The Old Republic, The Secret World and their ilk. So if we're writing about MMRPGs for a mass gaming audience, many outlets choose to stick with MMO to make themselves understood. Sometimes a conversation about doing otherwise just turns into a conversation which is a distraction from whatever the actual issues being discussed are like...um...this one...

bobmd13:
The Secret World has broken the mould of the modern MMO.

A single, unique mechanic is not enough to break a mold in my book.

RagTagBand:
Planetside 2. That is all.

My problem with Planetside 2 right now is that it has limited persistence. This may be due to the lack of multiple worlds but you can't take and lock down planets. Each faction always has a permanent, protected beachhead which seems to defeat the purpose of taking over a planet. You want to kick your enemy off a planet entirely, and force them to forge a new beachhead from scratch, right?

I personally prefer the World War II Online model. It is possible for the Axis or Allies to win the war, after which the server resets and everyone starts from square one. That is also a different and limited kind of persistence but at least it does present a closed system where, within a single cycle of war, there is irrevocable persistence and consequence.

EVE Online is currently the gold standard for persistence and consequence in massively multiplayer gaming.

doctorjackal777:

Yal:

doctorjackal777:
But I'm surprised you mentioned no quest log as a benefit, how is that a good thing? Yes, having hidden quests is interesting and would reward exploration but really? When I have a lot to do in a day I'll make a list, so that I remember to get everything done, why would you not want that feature in your game. You can have multiple quests going at once, why would you not want a concise list to help you keep track of where you were in each one. I can just imagine coming back after a short hiatus to the game, forgetting what quests I was on and what I was doing, and then just turning it off again.

No quest log is one of those things that is a design flaw but also sort of feature but also definitely a flaw...

One of that game's quests, the rogue "epic weapon" quest (it was pretty epic ten years ago, they out a lot of work into those quests), has you working for dude named Stanos. He's in hiding, before you came on the scene he foiled an assassination attempt and made rather a lot of enemies. A dark elf general had hired one of the human rogue guilds to kill an ambassador in a human city, hoping to start a war. Stanos felt this would be bad for business, betrayed the assassin and now the guild and the dark elf both want him dead. Stanos has a plan for you to kill the dark elf and get the heat off him, and you can do that quest. You'll get sweet dagger for your troubles.

Or... Half the world wants Stanos dead, he's standing right in front of you, and you've got a knife. There's no indication you should follow this route, but if you've read the story it makes perfect sense, and it turns you can and it works. Kill Stanos and you can claim a reward from either the assassin's son or the dark elf (who is actually a raid boss who will murder anyone who tries to talk to him). It took ages for anyone to work this out, I think it was at least a year after the primary plotline was solved. It was awesome.

Now, you could theoretically do this with a quest tracker in place. But I honestly can't ever remember a game that let you just completely ignore your tracker and go do a completely different quest with the same characters. Quest logs are great when they remind the player what the player wants to do next. Except more commonly they just tell the player what to do, and that's sort of a shame.

I totally get that, but if it were me I'd just word the quest information carefully. Have something like "resolve the issue between Stanos and the guild." The straight forward answer would be to follow what Stanos wants you to do, but if you're the kind of person who thinks outside the box, then 'resolve' could mean something different. However you want to 'resolve' the issue is up to you, and depending on what way you chose the quest would branch in a different direction.
Or alternatively reward the player for exploration by having alternate outcomes come up in NPC conversation. Stanos hired you to kill someone, but on your way to do that you hear about what a douche he is, and how it might be better if he was the one that died instead. Then it gets you thinking, hey maybe I don't have to follow his orders, maybe I can take him down instead. There are options available, and all the quest tracker needs to do is keep track of what you've already done, and what information you've collected relating to it, rather than harping on what the game wants you to do next.

There's now a quest log in EQ, if it helps. but yeah, I hate MUDs, but since MMOs are totally text based, I loved having to talk to the NPCs instead of just clicking "Next" over and over. EQ 2 did get rid of that, but they really improved everything. There's even an entirely separate leveling system for your profession, totally different from your standard class. So you cam literally be a lvl20 Cleric/lvl 30 woodworker. Both are great MMOs, though. I think they do "hotbar" combat better than any MMO, bar none.

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