Waypoints: Saying No to MMOs

Waypoints: Saying No to MMOs

Look at one of your favorite MMOGs through the eyes of a non-player, and you may not be too happy with what you see.

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Well, EVE has great graphics, a massive universe, and fairly good ai, but the interface is hard to get used to and it's extremely complicated. I'd like to see a mmorpg that plays like Crysis, has Euphoria and DMM like in The Force Unleashed, and is nearly photo-realistic. Pretty much EVE Online (with the new Ambulation engine that lets you walk around in ships and stations), Euphoria and DMM, and is controlled by your thoughts (they already have virtual characters and robotic limbs that can be controlled with your mind). If a company releases a controller that uses your thoughts to control characters, ships, and such, the possibilities would be endless. Being able to navigate every menu, every world, control every ship and vehicle, and do anything you need to do with just your mind. Soon, that won't be science fiction, but it will be an easily accessible product that anyone can afford.

no offense but yatzee was right when he said it sucks

i played the demo for an hour and never touched t again

Just felt I should point out that several MMOs feature robust physics simulations, sophisticated lighting effects, and collision detection. Unfortunately, the most popular ones do not. Perhaps the large and most successful MMOs are not the games we should present to people like Allen as their first MMO experience.

Eipok Kruden:
Well, EVE has great graphics, a massive universe, and fairly good ai, but the interface is hard to get used to and it's extremely complicated.

And not a game.

Other then that, ya, I guess those are the main drawbacks.

I like to be in control. Playing a MMORPG does not feel like I'm in control. I am, in a way, but I'm not aiming, I'm not powering up, I'm not doing anything.. other than selecting a creature, then tapping a button. The rest is done automatically. I want to choose how to hold my weapon, my posture. I want to swing it where I want it to swing. I want to choose how much power I'm going to put into it.

Eve was even worse, imo. Select a target, fire weapons. Maneuvering can be done automatically, targeting, anything. I want to be *in control*. I want to fire those weapons myself. I want to target them myself. I want to configure them myself, duration, burst, anything!

Combine this with the grind, repetitive nature, and monthly fee and that sums up why I don't play MMORPGs. Mount and Blade brought me a lot closer to the melee combat I want, and a realistic tactical battlefield simulator (like ArmA) brings me a lot closer to the shooters. Now if only freelancer wasn't so dull and X3 so complicated, I would have had my space simulator fix as well....

Mariena:
Combine this with the grind, repetitive nature, and monthly fee and that sums up why I don't play MMORPGs. Mount and Blade brought me a lot closer to the melee combat I want, and a realistic tactical battlefield simulator (like ArmA) brings me a lot closer to the shooters. Now if only freelancer wasn't so dull and X3 so complicated, I would have had my space simulator fix as well....

I'd recommend Frontier: Elite II as a space-sim, only it's just about the most complicated one ever made and has Newtonian physics, which just leads to early confusion. The graphics also look like arse, coming from the early 1990s. So, probably not what you're looking for.

I agree with your point, Mariena. I want to feel connected to the game, rather than just a passive observer.

Mariena:
I like to be in control. Playing a MMORPG does not feel like I'm in control. I am, in a way, but I'm not aiming, I'm not powering up, I'm not doing anything.. other than selecting a creature, then tapping a button. The rest is done automatically. I want to choose how to hold my weapon, my posture. I want to swing it where I want it to swing. I want to choose how much power I'm going to put into it.

You should really think about what you just said.

Almost every game ever made gives you specific weapons which your character holds and uses a certain way and all you do is press a button in order to get said action out of him.

When you 'power up' in a game, you're holding a button.

When you attack in a game, you're pressing a button.

When you equip an item, it is put on your character a certain way and the same way every time.

There's no difference. At all. In fact, there's an MMO out there that gives you more control with your swings than any other game out there.

Really, the action part of both MMO's and other games are pretty identical. Only games with true blocking and evasion systems are superior... and systems like that are usually tacked on at the last moment and are poorly implemented.

Credge:

Mariena:
I like to be in control. Playing a MMORPG does not feel like I'm in control. I am, in a way, but I'm not aiming, I'm not powering up, I'm not doing anything.. other than selecting a creature, then tapping a button. The rest is done automatically. I want to choose how to hold my weapon, my posture. I want to swing it where I want it to swing. I want to choose how much power I'm going to put into it.

You should really think about what you just said.

Almost every game ever made gives you specific weapons which your character holds and uses a certain way and all you do is press a button in order to get said action out of him.

When you 'power up' in a game, you're holding a button.

When you attack in a game, you're pressing a button.

When you equip an item, it is put on your character a certain way and the same way every time.

There's no difference. At all. In fact, there's an MMO out there that gives you more control with your swings than any other game out there.

Really, the action part of both MMO's and other games are pretty identical. Only games with true blocking and evasion systems are superior... and systems like that are usually tacked on at the last moment and are poorly implemented.

It's not that fact that I'm holding a button, is it? It's the fact that I do not have any control over the character. Yes, I can tell it where to go, I can click and it will swing. Swing. Swing. Swing. Swing. Automatically. Till it dies. But like I said, I want to be in control. I don't want it to just target something then swing till it drops dead. I want to do it myself.

I want to control the swing of the weapon, where it will hit, where it will swing. There IS a difference. I'm not going to repeat myself. And if you're talking about Age of Conan (referring to "There is a MMO out there that gives you more control.. etc"), the directional controls are meaningless. They're just more button tapping in order to reach a simple combo. Nothing special.

Man if only I could remember that game's name. You could control the direction of your weapon, evade, roll, block, anything really. It's pretty old by now and it didn't run properly on my Windows XP machine.. If a MMORPG had those capabilities, I'd be playing it. But as it stands, every MMORPG is nothing but point the target, click the target.. and occasionally hit a number to perform a skill.

Edit: Severance: Blade of Darkness .. that's what it's called. It actually mattered how you timed your hit, where it hit and how it hit. No stupid dices were rolled.

Having played a large amount of MMO's, I'm a little concerned by this increase in poo-poing them as not "ON THE EDGE" enough.

Let's face it...you've got a LAN of 20,000 computers; a rolling storyline; different characters; customisation; 70 man raids and you're looking for technical excellence as well without lag?

Do you stop playing Street Fighter 2 because you can't see bruising?

I like the MMO's to control the basics of combat because how I kill something is boring to me unless it's Epic. Mooks should only take one click.

Allen seems to suffer from that increasingly common phobia of nerdaphilia; he's reached his level of nerd-dom and is afraid of going any lower. Most MMO's can be played with a near blank screen if he doesn't want the words; but he will never play them.

Like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, they've not advanced with the time and he's heard scare stories about people. They don't look all that inviting from the outside, though he is tempted. He just doesn't want to spend 7 a month when he could buy a brand new game for 49 and finish it in a weekend.

But there's no prejudice there at all. Uh-uh.

I used to play a lot MMOs, the last being Age of Conan (AoC). After all the changes they made to that game in the second month I quit and haven't played another since.

I already know what (in my opinion)the perfect MMO looks like. It would have the combat system of a console hack and slash game, a persistent world, item crafting based economy and be on consoles, with game pad support for the pc.

I've come to accept that this game will most likely never exist seeing as I thought it up some 3 years ago when MxO went downhill then started playing SWG Pre NGE Post CU.

What many current MMO players easily forget is that to really get everything out of a MMO you really do need to have a working knowledge of computers.

As in you need know that a integrated graphics chip is as capable of running most pc games as a 50 year old asthmatic smoker is capable of running a 100m sprint. Many non-gamers don't even know what a graphics card is, or what it's for and still call their desktop towers a "hard drive."

Here's an example of what I mean. When I first started playing AoC the game would not start properly. I read on the forums what had to be fixed and found that I had to go into my computer's hidden files (the stuff windows hides from you so you don't break your computer) and edit a config.ini file. When I started using HUD mods every update the game got would break the mod and then I would have to go and by hand edit xml files.

How many first time would be MMO players could do that without being frustrated to the point of quitting? MMOs or RTSMMOS as I like to call them because of both their interface and ancient combat systems (at least AoC got melee and range combat right even if it wasn't fully balanced while I played),really playing a MMO is just like micro-managing a RTS hero character just with different surrounds, more abilities and persistent existence.

RTSMMOs really don't appeal to gamers who aren't a fan of the source material, or developer for the game and non-pc gamers have bar of entry so high that many don't even bother once they learn that their $500 dell laptop can't play the game. Until this changes I guess companies are going to continue chasing WoW's 2mil Western, 8million East Asian player base and only end up like Funcom merging servers less than 6 months after release.

There's a solution to all the problems in mmo's today. And it's called Darkfall Online. I hate moest mmo's with a passion. Standard mmo gameplay to me is the epitome of poor game design. It's arguous, repeditive, boring, lacking of debth, slow, and unbalanced.

There are quite a few mmo's out there however that break the mold, from Planetside and World War II Online to Star Wars Galaxies to EVE (the world not the gameplay) to Shattered Galaxy to Lineage to Shadowbane to Pirates of the Burning Sea and so on. There are also some rather interesting ones under development such as Darkfall online, with a very Oblivionesque combat style, full PvP, full loot, no instances, no levels, no classes (system is like UO), anywhere is accesible, FPS like AI, and a map that will be mostly made up of player ownable territories. There's Infinity: The Quest for Earth a true space simulator, using procedural programming techniques to create a truly life size universe, full real time action combat, and any planet can be flown to, no loading screens. There's Star Trek online, a game focussed more around exploration then anything. There's Mortal Online, an mmo using the Unreal 3 engine designed around sandbox play.

There is more to the mmorpg and mmo genres then what people are used to and I find it annoying how people seem to beleive in this tiny view of what an mmo is, should be, and has to be. There is more out there and there is more that can be done. It is up to the creative minds of the game industry to explore these immense opportunities, and it's up to us the gamers to find the games that are.

I wonder if the article itself doesn't miss the point of Allen's real poo-pooing. He said himself, he doesn't need another bad habit. The author points out his several instance of obsessive gaming. Why would someone who perhaps already feels games dominate his life overmuch (despite the fun he gets from them) want to take on another burden - a burden, in fact, that would probably suck at least another 15 hours a week from his life, if he's anything like he's described.

I have a strict ban on MMOs after my brief experience (several weeks each) with Ultima Online, Everquest and Asheron's Call several years ago. It's not just that the games are ugly (they are, and when you're spending your time staring at that screen for several hours at a time, why be staring at ugliness) - it's that the games themselves are not much fun, relative to the compulsion one feels to continue playing them. The reinforcement schedule for rewards set up by MMOG's is designed to occur at the right intervals to keep players engaged. A cynic might describe this as "addictive", but all well-designed games are addictive to one extent or another - the word is somewhat meaningless.

But with other games, I play them because I find them fun; with MMOGs, it just seemed like work. After "grinding" for the nth time just to get some imaginary bit of loot that raised my imaginary status bars so that I could fight monsters with higher imaginary status bars than the previous ones, I realized that the hours I was spending "building" my character each week were better spent doing almost anything else in the real world - working on my house, exercise, studying - and all were as enjoyable as the work I was putting in on the MMOG, and the gains they yielded were tangible, not imaginary.

I don't like games that go on forever; I want there to be an end in sight, so I can move on to something new. "Forever" means anything over 20 hours; if I'm spending more time than that doing the same thing over & over, it's a waste of my life. If I want to have memorable experiences with my friends in games, there are plenty of options for multiplayer gaming of the non-massive sort.

Games should be fun, not work.

Tell him to try out Guild Wars. You can only bring 8 skills at the same time, which may scare some at first. But for the sake of balance (thus, fun if you're up for real competitive play), it's necessary.
Right now, the balance is a bit off, which renders the majority of possible skills (over 1300, this might frighten him again >.<) useless or simply inferior to others. This means only 150-200 skills are frequently used in serious forms of PvP, and that these skillbars are pretty well balanced out in the current meta-game.

The grind is a bit different, though. Instead of grinding your character to get stronger, it's the player that must get better once he/she reaches level 20. All that's left after reaching the cap, is finishing the storyline, and grinding some gold to get nicer looking equipment. Plus it's free.

I'll stop the free PR now, hrm.

I can't really enjoy MMOs because, while i can spend countless hours into certain games, i hate it when a game REQUIRES that kind of commitment.

I rather have my Gametime split into small, fun bursts of Halo/CoD/UT3/Whatever Matches or 5-10 Minute Races rather than spending too much time traveling or waiting for something to happen. I just want my fun instantly.

Also, i can't stick with games for more than a few months. No matter how engaging it is at first, i will inevitably get bored of it relatively fast or just get occupied with the next game i bought.

And while i might revisit these games after a while, it usually is not for very long. (I downloadad the "Cold Storage" Map from Halo 3 and have yet to play it :x)

I don't play MMO's because I hate powergaming and MMO's are powergamer breeding grounds. I prefer to take my sweet time and roleplay my character in the world, as opposed to trying to gain levels and the most powerful weapons as quickly as possible.

And if I'm going to be the only one that stops to smell the roses while everyone else runs by to loot the next dungeon I might aswell enjoy a tailored singleplayer experience in a much richer game world, like Oblivion.

I am having a lot of fun in Warhammer right now. No Balance issues (minus that bloody kick in the lava Scenarios) and I can do what ever I want to level.

I can PvP and level as quickly if I PvE... PvP starts feeling like a grind I can do some PQs... PQs a little dull? How about a Dungeon?

You either like MMOs or you dont! I know a Halo player would not like to hear my opinion about their old and milked series.

One MMORPG, nearly ten nears ago with Asheron's Call, was enough for me. Now Guild Wars is as close as I get.

Not a fan of pay-and-pay-and-pay-and-pay-and-pay-and-pay-to-play business models. They're also a huge time sink.

Mariena:
Now if only freelancer wasn't so dull and X3 so complicated, I would have had my space simulator fix as well....

www.vendetta-online.com

Yep, it IS an MMO. It is also a space simulator, with *everything* you'd expect from a game in the freelancer/X3/Frontier/Terminus/EV Nova/new Jumpgate/etc mould. But not dull. It also features the most dynamic gaming world available online among 3D client-based MMOs (yes, even including Darkfall Online), with mechanics most other online games only dream of (such as AIs that expand and seize territory, full twitch-based/skill-based combat, no silly levels or classes or restrictions, in-game solutions to problems instead of off-game limitations (such as "bad orc, you no attack your own race"), etc.)

And most importantly, you are in full, absolute control. More so than in most offline action games I've ever played (I won't even bother mentioning MMOs here, because with the exception of Vendetta Online, I agree with you wholeheartedly).

A good feature list can be found on Vendetta Online's wikimedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendetta_Online

RAKtheUndead:
I'd recommend Frontier: Elite II as a space-sim, only it's just about the most complicated one ever made and has Newtonian physics, which just leads to early confusion. The graphics also look like arse, coming from the early 1990s. So, probably not what you're looking for.

Dated graphics, can't disagree with you there. But the physics leading to confusion? For most gamers with a passion for strains of realism, I think the physics are the thing that made sense the most in Frontier.

I miss it. And I canna hardly wait for Elite IV.

Ayjona:

Mariena:
Now if only freelancer wasn't so dull and X3 so complicated, I would have had my space simulator fix as well....

www.vendetta-online.com

Yep, it IS an MMO. It is also a space simulator, with *everything* you'd expect from a game in the freelancer/X3/Frontier/Terminus/EV Nova/new Jumpgate/etc mould. But not dull. It also features the most dynamic gaming world available online among 3D client-based MMOs (yes, even including Darkfall Online), with mechanics most other online games only dream of (such as AIs that expand and seize territory, full twitch-based/skill-based combat, no silly levels or classes or restrictions, in-game solutions to problems instead of off-game limitations (such as "bad orc, you no attack your own race"), etc.)

And most importantly, you are in full, absolute control. More so than in most offline action games I've ever played (I won't even bother mentioning MMOs here, because with the exception of Vendetta Online, I agree with you wholeheartedly).

A good feature list can be found on Vendetta Online's wikimedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendetta_Online

RAKtheUndead:
I'd recommend Frontier: Elite II as a space-sim, only it's just about the most complicated one ever made and has Newtonian physics, which just leads to early confusion. The graphics also look like arse, coming from the early 1990s. So, probably not what you're looking for.

Dated graphics, can't disagree with you there. But the physics leading to confusion? For most gamers with a passion for strains of realism, I think the physics are the thing that made sense the most in Frontier.

I miss it. And I canna hardly wait for Elite IV.

Thanks for that. I'll check it out! I'll have to carefully consider this though, because I'm no longer a MMOron (Har har. Funnyz!) :p

Mariena:
Thanks for that. I'll check it out! I'll have to carefully consider this though, because I'm no longer a MMOron (Har har. Funnyz!) :p

Hmm, I feel a bit bad now, encouraging other to play MMOs. If I wanted to strive towards a better world, I should be doing exactly the opposite ;)

But yeah, you might actually like this game. I know I do, and I share your feeling on MMOs. Better warn you that the game is developed by only three fellas, the graphics are not overly advanced (but in no way bad or ugly), there is MUCH that still needs to be done in the game (the main dev posts frequently and shares his vision and goals, and he also listens closely to the community, mainly because it is so small that we can speak to him directly every time we log in ;) ), and that the game might feel a bit sparsely populated at times.

But in spite of all this, I'm recommending it. Says something for the quality of the freedom and combat mechanics it offers. Bleh, I hate being a fanboy...

I've already made my first post on their forums.. I'm just wondering how the PvP / PvE is. I don't like PvP; I love PvE. I hope there will be enough for me to do and not too much being ganked.

Ayjona:

www.vendetta-online.com

Great example of good gameplay in an mmo, unfortunately it's not near the "world" that something like EVE is. Now imagine if EVE played like vendetta, that'd be a game.

Bretty:
You either like MMOs or you dont! I know a Halo player would not like to hear my opinion about their old and milked series.

I have to completely disagree. I personally HATE most mmo's, but I love mmo's. The mmo clasification (since it's not really a genre) is quite varied and although most that same standard format and gameplay there are quite a few unique ones out there. For pretty well any kind of player there is an mmo somewhere that suits them, a lot of people will just never find them.

MMOs are such a waste of time.
They are designed to be a waste of time.
You don't need to do anything (except invest time) to get a sense of accomplishment. It's so fake, and when you decide to do better things with your time you'll find that real accomplishments are much more meaningful.

Now you might make the social interaction argument, but come on. What's the time to social interaction quota in an MMO compared to meeting people in real life? It's ridiculous. Friendships over the internet aren't comparable to real life friendships 99.99% of the time.

I've enjoyed playing MMOs, but I make myself not play them. People playing them makes me sad (I don't think the players are sad, the thought of people wasting their time to such an insane degree is)

I know it's not confirmed yet, but with the strong rumors of Knights of the Old Republic 3 being a MMOG instead of a RPG really frustrates me.

LucasArts can't just close the story of the series with a third game, they've gotta try to cash in on the MMO hype somehow since Star Wars Galaxies isn't working.

I'll be very interested to see if the 3 upcoming CONSOLE MMO's - The Agency, DC Universe Online and Champions Online (think that's what it's called) - hold some ground/virtues against their PC brethren. You'd think the interface would be less intrusive at the very least.

I'm not a fan of MMO's but I've never looked at it like that. The buttonbar/minimap/lifebar/whatever always seemed pretty normal to me for an rpg. Take something like Final Fantasy for example... Or an RTS with their 1/3 of the screen gone.

Hellgate London was an awesome experiment and I can't help but applaud Flagship for its guts in trying something like this. I hope to see a follow-up in that direction sometime as I think it could definately work. There's a lot of groundwork that should be completely overhauled though, just a little bit closer to the shooter side in some aspects and just a little bit closer to an rpg in others, more actual in-game maneauvers that affect the way you play. Like being able to take cover being a skill, using grenades, dropping off the radar, stuff that affects gameplay like CoD4's skills only expanded into a level system. It should work, but how do you spread a levelling arc on this for a 100+ hour experience? RSV2's way? They're creeping awfully close together.

slyder35:
I've been picking up bits and pieces of news about the Agency since forever. Too bad its looking at a subscription payment model. I ff-in hate those things, they are my main reason for not playing MMO's.

In an MMO I only want is more complex lving system. for example lvs 1-5 in a town that gives quest till your lv 5 then u get a quest to go to ANOTHER town. 5-10 etc etc

MMOs offer a way for people to take on another personality within a world that is different from our own. In these worlds people can do stuff they never could do in real life like cast spells or ride wolves. Make weapons and stuff out of **** in their bags and not have to go to bed. *Note: I'm not mentioning those crazy bastards who go to an extreme level of video game addiction*
Other than that, games like WoW provide a game that ANYONE could get into within a few minutes. FPS and RTS game require hours of play to get the hang of how it runs and then another few hours to get decent at playing.
People also like in MMO's that you get something for doing anything. In reallife you finished a very long work report. What do you get? Zilch most of the time and no "Good job". In MMO's you go kill a dog and what do you get? Experience. Do a job that is so easy a blind person could do it and what do you get? Money and items. People LIKE rewards for doing things and MMOs give that out like candy.

You want a challenge instead of a boring grind? Try aoe grinding in WoW with a mage. It's much faster than any other form of leveling and it takes lots of skill.

http://www.wowwiki.com/Frost_AoE_grinding

Mariena:
I like to be in control. Playing a MMORPG does not feel like I'm in control. I am, in a way, but I'm not aiming, I'm not powering up, I'm not doing anything.. other than selecting a creature, then tapping a button. The rest is done automatically. I want to choose how to hold my weapon, my posture. I want to swing it where I want it to swing. I want to choose how much power I'm going to put into it.

It sounds like a lot of what you don't like about MMORPGs is simply the RPG part, as you've just described the play mechanic for most single-player RPGs as well. Certainly there are a few RPGs that have taken a more interactive approach, such as Oblivion. But for a classic RPG like Neverwinter Nights, there is little more to the game than "selecting a creature and tapping a button". You choose the target, pick a skill/spell/talent to activate, and wait for the results. The enjoyment of the game is identifying with your character, finishing quests (ideally with multiple story paths), following the (usually well written) main plot line, and immersing yourself in the artwork of the environment and the back-story of secondary quests.

One of the biggest benefits of the RPG game-play mechanic is that, frankly, you don't have to be very "good" as a gamer, by most definitions of that term. Regardless, the MMORPG genre is likely never going to go away and probably not going to change much... these mechanics are specifically attractive to the same people that like single-player RPGs, which is a long-standing genre that won't be going away any time soon either.

While several MMOs have attempted to break out of the RPG mould, there are simply a lot of technical and accessibility challenges with that. Unfortunately, none of the MMO{insert non-RPG genre here} games that I've seen have not really hit the mark yet. Interestingly, some of the best MMO games from other genres don't bill themselves as MMOGs at all, but still provide persistent universes with persistent character development. A game like "Battlefield 2142", for instance, meets many criteria of what you might otherwise call an MMOFPS.

Not to belabor a point, but kyrieee, Frybird and BigBoote66 seem to capture the essence here.

There are different kinds of games because there are different kinds of people. I don't play MMO's for a lot of reasons, (bad habit, level grinding, trying to deal with assholes online) but mostly those games just aren't fun for me. They don't look like fun, the experience that people describe to me doesn't sound like fun, and so I don't get involved with it.

 

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