MMO Adaptation Will Ruin What You Love About Your Favorite Franchise

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Maphysto:
Everquest Next is about the only MMO I have any hope for, and that only because it looks like they're trying to move away from the whole static theme-park approach. I have some friends who keep trying to convince me to get on ESO because "It's not like any other MMO," but everything I've seen on it points to it just being another same-old grind with slightly different combat and rt design.

Every time I hear the "It's not like any other MMO" spiel I always, always ask them to defend that opinion. It's to the point where there are no new original MMOs. Anything someone can put into MMO form, they already have.

I'm guessing their response to 'Why is it not like any other MMO?' would be "It forces you into single player instances where you can't play the game with your friends".

Roofstone:

Honestly, why does everything need to be an MMO? Isn't like, every MMO but WoW a failure these days? Why do they keep tryng? It never works! We still have WoW after all. Stop trying, you will fail.

You never played Ragnarok Online? Any old school Ragnarok players around here? That MMORPG is hardcore (pre-renewal of course).

I think what happens is companies are all in search of that franchise name that's going to grab players initially. It feels like they're playing roulette - each one hoping that they snagged the franchise with loyal players that had enough interest in the name alone to become initial subscribers, so as to say "look at us! We're the fastest growing MMO!" to anyone else that is either not already on the market or is currently playing WoW and looking to play something else. Elder Scrolls Online just feels like another roll of the dice, another attempt by a publisher to see if they can get their own MMO cash cow by slapping the name Elder Scrolls on it and making it look just enough like an Elder Scrolls game to trick people into thinking it was one.

I remember playing the beta and all anyone was talking about was that it wasn't enough like the actually Elder Scrolls games to be worth their while, that or that there was a 'lot of potential for something good here.' That is a phrase that always catches me off guard too, because you know that when you see a beta for the game, you're more or less looking at the final product. It might be prettier, more cleaned up, more functional later on, but the beta's still pretty indicative of what's shipping. At that point, 'potential' kind of ceases to be relevant in an MMO, because with a few rare exceptions, MMOs are generally static. They may tweak things here or there, but they're always going to be the same game until it gets shut down. Companies just write them off as losses and then jump to the Free-to-Pay model and leave the game to rot.

Maphysto:
Everquest Next is about the only MMO I have any hope for, and that only because it looks like they're trying to move away from the whole static theme-park approach. I have some friends who keep trying to convince me to get on ESO because "It's not like any other MMO," but everything I've seen on it points to it just being another same-old grind with slightly different combat and art design.

Darth_Payn:

See, the only way you could make a good Game of Thrones MMO would be for all characters to have PERMADEATH. Good luck trying to get that past the suits.

While I agree with you to a degree, this would be hard to implement, since one of the primary reasons people get offed in GoT is to keep them from spilling your secrets and plots.

So let's say you're some high lord in King's Landing, and you're planning to assassinate some prick you don't like. But then this other guy finds out about your plan and threatens to squeal, so now you have to kill him. Once that character is dead, you can scheme in peace... for five minutes as the player rolls a new character and PM's the guy you were gonna assassinate.

See, exchange of information is key for player-driven games. In Westeros, information can only ever travel as fast as a raven can fly or a messenger can ride. But in an mmo, information moves at the speed of instant messages and Skype calls. What people know or don't know about the actions of other characters is integral to the intrigue of GoT, so having players who are able to communicate instantly from across the map, or retain knowledge from previous characters, would make it nearly impossible to simulate.

There would be no "PMs." You would only be able to speak to people in sight. But maybe someone is hiding in a hallway nearby, listening....

Of course, this doesn't prevent out of band communication, but that only ramps up the paranoia even more. Are they talking behind our backs? That IS just a bot in our vent channel, right?

And who are you going to trust with your contact information.....?

Not all MMOs are in a frozen place in time. I know you dislike it very Mr. Croshaw much but EVE is always moving forward. In terms of storyline and player created content. Say what you will about my space submarines but it is a constantly changing landscape.

Sticky:
I was going to bring up Warcraft Pre-WoW as an example while reading the article, but you already nailed that one. I remember visibly wrenching when I learned that Illidan, who used to be the closest thing to a protagonist in Warcraft 3, became a raid boss that hundreds of people would line up to shit on each and every day.

Ha, I had almost the exact opposite reaction when I learnt that Arthas Menthir was a killable boss in WoW. Honestly the only reason I could ever think to start playing WoW myself would be for the pleasure of killing that unbearably obnoxious little douchebag. :D Argh, the memories I have of him in Warcraft 3...

Agreed.

I'm not against MMO's like Yahzee usually is, in fact I've spent most of my gaming hours in MMO's the last few years (and way too much at that). However, trying to cram an existing franchise into an MMO just doesn't work. They're completely different beasts that rely far more on player interaction to tell a storyline than on dialogue and pre-determined content.

MMO's should rise to be games of their own, with settings that are developed to suit their playstyle. That way they'll actually be able to innovate as well, instead of just cramming existing settings into a format that doesn't fit it.

The big exception would be WoW I guess. But I'd argue that WoW was actually fit to be turned into an MMO. Blizzard used the WC3 engine to build that game, the same items & heroes systems were already in place before in WC3 as well. So WoW did actually end up being "a world full of warcraft" (with a good deal of copying EQ1).

i disagree, some things can NEVER be interesting, like that dead island MOBA

Having only a 360 for gaming and a need to experiment with an MMO for the first time...lead me to Defiance. Only managed 2 episodes and 3 on-off weeks of play. At least it was subscription free i guess, that could've been interesting.

Is guild wars coming to xbox? I have heard mixed things.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
MMO Adaptation Will Ruin What You Love About Your Favorite Franchise[/a]

image

This is so true. After playing through the entire Legacy of Kain series, I wanted to see how the story would conclude. Seeing how they kinda left you in a bitter-sweet/cliffhanger position, I didn't expect that they would completely halt further production on the franchise and gave up on the idea of sequels, several years later.

Now, more then 10 years later, I find out it's getting the MMO treatment.

Roofstone:
Honestly, why does everything need to be an MMO? Isn't like, every MMO but WoW a failure these days?

It's fair to say that every one that tried to beat WoW by being just like it has died an abysmal whimpering death, unloved and unmourned.

However, both Planetside and Planetside 2 are alive and kicking, both Guild wars and now two Final Fantasy MMOs are ticking away (hell, FFXI is the most profitable Final Fantasy game Square has ever made!). There's plenty of space for MMOs.

I have to admit I love Planetside 2 and it's giant game of Battlefield. That's where SOE really nailed it, minimal fannying about with fetch quests or 'epic' plot lines, it's just a massive game of conquest where the control points are everything and the teams are everyone. That's how you make an MMO, build a game for everyone to play together at once, anything else (including Elder Scrolls) seem to miss the point.

Why always an MMO? Using a term from the mobile games industry, I get the impression that MMO's essentially rely on whale-lites. Case in point consider the FF series. FFX sold 8 million copies on the PS2, and FFXI... hard to get a concrete number down, but it's below a million and long term wise less than 500,000 subscribers. Selling 500,000 units is a far cry from 8,000,000, but when those 500k are spending $15 a month for potentially multiple years, plus buying the numerous expansions that get released, and you end up making far more money off the much smaller MMO group. And for someone who likes the single player games, it really really sucks. Just look at Square-Enix now, how much effort they're putting into FFXIV to please less than a million fans while setting aside the next single player release that would please 10 million.

In terms of pro sports they're kind of like season ticket holders, where single player gamers are like single ticket purchasers. There's probably only about 10-15 million MMO players on the market, but they're willing to spend so much more money on a single game that everyone in the financial side of gaming wants a piece of them.

MMO adaptations will never ruin my favourite franchises, much like shitty hollywood film adaptations never will.
Because they're not hard to ignore.

"But in that case, why was DC Universe Online so crap?"

Well, comics characters are often differentiated by their personalities and power sets. In MMOs, character personality tends to go out the window immediately, so that wasn't really the issue. It was the powers. Each power set is the same thing, re-skinned. The only difference is the colour of the powers. On top of that, EVERYBODY gets a power specifically for travel, which doesn't improve at all apart from a single upgrade you can unlock early on. Plus, there are only three of these travel powers to choose from. Basically, in a game genre and established universe both renowned for the sheer variety of characters, SOE decided to make every character the same thing.

Edit: Have to add the lack of Australian servers. For a game based around real-time action gameplay, not having local servers was a horrendous idea. It's impossible to fight a player who lives in the US, because you don't get to attempt to dodge their attack until a second after they've hit you with it.

Kalezian:
mainly people didn't want an Elder Scrolls MMO, we wanted an Elder Scrolls game that we could have two or three buddies run around with in the world.

word from the wise: you'll never get such a thing unless you read the words "whole new engine" in a Bethesda press release...and even then (as was the case with Skyrim) that'll probably be a marketing department lie...

Skyrim (and the others) can't basically do multiplayer because the game engine is actually (what seems like a counter intuitive) combination of "very scripted" and "only the bit you can see exists at the time"...

...hence why it (and the others) sometimes bug out in terms of its "what have you done ?" tracking and literally drops enemies on or near you...

needless to say this kinda rules out the idea of someone else being in the game world with you...unless you're basically joined at the hip in terms of "where you are in the game"...both geographically and..quest-ually...

...also i think i may have just invented a new word lol...

If you can't change the actual story that over-arcs, then you have to let the players make their own. The original incarnation of Star Wars Galaxies tried this, and by many accounts did surprisingly well before the powers that be decided to gut it to try and get that WoW dollar.

So an MMO where everyone dies? I'd pay 15 bucks a month for that.

Also, I'm inclined to think DCU was a bad game because it was a bad game in itself, not so much because comics and MMOs can't mix.

I felt like last weeks EP was based on a weak premise/phoned in, and I said as much. This week was a much stronger premise and you can tell he actually believes in it. Don't let the grind drag you down Yahtzee.

I think the biggest issue most MMO's have is that they try to make the player feel unique and special in a world populated with other players. The second issue is that in most MMO's, there is no possible endgame other than 100% completion. I don't think either of these are necessary and combined with a good setting, a great MMO can be made.

For example: TES Skyrim. In addition to all the caves and ruins, you have naturally occurring boss monsters to kill. If instead of telling the player they are the DRAGON BORN, make them just be some shmoe. They can run about independently, or join with the Imperials or the Stormcloaks. Occasionally roving bands of Stormcloaks would come across imperial detachments.You could have a fluid war situation. And if you allowed one side to win on a server, there would actually be an end game in mind.

The concept of an open space for roleplaying within a moderated and designed space is actually something that would fit perfectly with a pretty large number of properties, including Game of Thrones. The problem with most MMOs, however, is that they almost always try to use the same formula and that formula is almost completely against what would and should work. In other words, it's not an MMO that wouldn't work, it's the typical WoW style MMO formula that doesn't work.

An MMO like Eve creates more of an open playground for players themselves to make their own stories. An MMO like the unfortunately mishandled Matrix Online also worked very well because, while the story itself was fairly linear in it's main structure, the regular interaction with live action storyline characters and constant progress in the story itself allowed for player character stories to move forward and for the world itself to develop. Either of these formats could fit very well with a Game of Thrones MMO.

Sticky:
I was going to bring up Warcraft Pre-WoW as an example while reading the article, but you already nailed that one. I remember visibly wrenching when I learned that Illidan, who used to be the closest thing to a protagonist in Warcraft 3, became a raid boss that hundreds of people would line up to shit on each and every day.

As an avid fanboy of Illidan, he wasn't ever a protagonist. We got to play him for one mission in RoChaos and for half the elven campaign in the expansion. Illidan never existed to serve in expressing player agency, since he was more often driven by his own goals (most of which aren't relatable). His descent into cray-land in WoW wasn't too weird and it made sense given his character progression, but executed rather poorly. I do agree, though, that him becoming a raid boss and just dying to Maiev Crazysong could have been done better, but really, familiarizing the players with who Illidan actually was would have probably gone the longest way. WoW has gone the way of retcons now-a-days where people like Cenarius have come back without more than a shrug, which is really annoying. It makes the world all fluffy and weightless.

TheMadDoctorsCat:

Ha, I had almost the exact opposite reaction when I learnt that Arthas Menthir was a killable boss in WoW. Honestly the only reason I could ever think to start playing WoW myself would be for the pleasure of killing that unbearably obnoxious little douchebag. :D Argh, the memories I have of him in Warcraft 3...

You'll be happy to know that he remains a huge dicknurp throughout Wrath of the Lich King and his raid/boss fight is/are very excellent. What a fantastic expansion.

OT:
MMO's of established properties are arguably the best way to make an MMO, so I don't know if I can share the sentiment here. WoW would not have been as big and prominent at its release if the Warcraft universe wasn't steadily moving toward a bigger and bigger scale with many notable characters. It was getting weird sticking them into small figurines on an isometric plane that shouted exposition while bobbing up and down (despite it being awesome). Regardless of whatever stigmas "MMOifying" stuff brings, I don't think it's anywhere near that bad, assuming it's done right.

Well, I maintain that MMOs is where fun goes to die.
The needs of the genre just suck all the fun out of it for me...the grind, the largely fake social aspect, the not-so-impressive feat of cramming 10000 people into one world we we all do the same thing til the end of time.

I gave a slew of MMORGPs a go a few years back; but instead of this awe-inspiring experience everyone kept banging on about (depth, scale, exploration), I found gobs of digital sweatshops where people are trained to mine for fake resources forever just at the merest hint of feeling a sense of accomplishment (but don't you DARE automate the process like any sane human being! That's cheating!)

It's to the point where I'd be so bold as to write off the entire genre as an elaborate count-to-infinity.

Even the "emergent gameplay wunderkin" that is EVE Online turned out to just be a big prolonged microcosm of economics, politics and backstabbing (the kind of shit I play games to get AWAY from).

I'd take an RPG (throw in some optional co-op if need be, I'm down) over an MMO :/ hence why I was rather disappointed when they were like STAR WARS THE OLD REPUBLIC...but an MMO gahh

Thanatos2k:

Maphysto:
Everquest Next is about the only MMO I have any hope for, and that only because it looks like they're trying to move away from the whole static theme-park approach. I have some friends who keep trying to convince me to get on ESO because "It's not like any other MMO," but everything I've seen on it points to it just being another same-old grind with slightly different combat and art design.

Darth_Payn:

See, the only way you could make a good Game of Thrones MMO would be for all characters to have PERMADEATH. Good luck trying to get that past the suits.

While I agree with you to a degree, this would be hard to implement, since one of the primary reasons people get offed in GoT is to keep them from spilling your secrets and plots.

So let's say you're some high lord in King's Landing, and you're planning to assassinate some prick you don't like. But then this other guy finds out about your plan and threatens to squeal, so now you have to kill him. Once that character is dead, you can scheme in peace... for five minutes as the player rolls a new character and PM's the guy you were gonna assassinate.

See, exchange of information is key for player-driven games. In Westeros, information can only ever travel as fast as a raven can fly or a messenger can ride. But in an mmo, information moves at the speed of instant messages and Skype calls. What people know or don't know about the actions of other characters is integral to the intrigue of GoT, so having players who are able to communicate instantly from across the map, or retain knowledge from previous characters, would make it nearly impossible to simulate.

There would be no "PMs." You would only be able to speak to people in sight. But maybe someone is hiding in a hallway nearby, listening....

Of course, this doesn't prevent out of band communication, but that only ramps up the paranoia even more. Are they talking behind our backs? That IS just a bot in our vent channel, right?

And who are you going to trust with your contact information.....?

One MMO actually managed to accomplish this feet of only nearby or LOS communications. Albeit unintentionally. Asherons Call 2, shortly after its release when its crapy experimental Microsoft Chat Server system imploded and remained broken for months. You could only chat with people in your immediate area. It killed the game. It never recovered.

faefrost:

One MMO actually managed to accomplish this feet of only nearby or LOS communications. Albeit unintentionally. Asherons Call 2, shortly after its release when its crapy experimental Microsoft Chat Server system imploded and remained broken for months. You could only chat with people in your immediate area. It killed the game. It never recovered.

The game has to revolve around mechanics like that. If WoW came without a more global way of communication, it would also be crippled. From the sound of it, that MMO had more problems than just its broken chat system.

captcha: ear candy

I'd like to take this opportunity to state that if you have not yet tried tabletop roleplaying, you should seriously consider this as an alternative to MMOs. Get yourself a good GM, a like-minded group of players and a system you all enjoy and say goodbye to fall-short MMOs!

The only way a Game of Thrones MMO wouldn't fail (initially) would be if it had boobs and proper sex scenes included. Without them, it would just be a fantasy themed MMO, and it's not like we don't have any of those.

The problem with many MMOs is that devs take a single player game and ruin it by making it an MMO. They fail to realize that the underlying paradigm is different and that existing design formulas just don't work in an MMO environment, so we get bad MMOs.

MMOs that are built from the ground up as MMOs are a great thing, but so many would be better off (and probably make more money) as normal games. For example, I'm currently playing Secret World. This game would have been the next Vampire: Bloodlines if it was just done as a normal game. As it stands, it's an excellent concept and a great setting dragged down with MMO fuckery. I still have fun with it, but it would have been a classic as a normal RPG, but is instead relegated to be a niche MMO...

Ken Sapp:
I think Guild Wars has been doing interesting things. Every so often they move the world forward as major events take place. I am an on-again/off-again player and it seems like every time I hit an on-again phase I have to start by learning what happened. Last phase I logged out while in Lion's Arch, a bustling central hub where all races came together as one unified force(my impression) and recently I logged back in to find that Lion's Arch had been pretty much destroyed in a recent conflict.

Guild Wars also serves to illustrate how many things that other MMOs do wrong can be fixed. You can hop in and out of fights and events without stealing credit from others allowing a loner like me to have fun and adventure without being screwed by spawn farmers who run around wiping out mooks which are still a challenge for my character and when you harvest a gather point or treasure chest it is not removed from the world for everyone else until it respawns. Add to this that they built their own world instead of trying to force some other property to function in a system it wasn't intended for and you get a fun game that is not such a static theme park.

Unfortunately I can't speak on the subject of PvP since I have no interest in having my rear handed to me constantly by the people who devote their lives to these games.

All well said, and on the point of PvP I couldn't agree more to boot!

But contrary to what Yahtzee said about the static nature of MMOs being a downside (which I agree with, for the record) its actually something the bulk of MMO players seem to prefer. The one issue I've heard complained about the most in GW2 is that the content updates are all changing. New events occur, big invasions and battles, but they only last for a time, after which the world is changed and shown to be impermanent.

Yet people complain that the content isn't just tacked onto the game as a permanent new addition. That destroying Lion's Arch (or one of the other numerous places that were laid to waste or changed throughout GW2's Living Story) instead of just adding in a new area to mess up was a "waste".

What's one gamers delight is despised by another. There's no one answer.

Though I'm loving the way GW2 does things, and how much the world and characters within have changed since launch.

In all fairness to promising-IP MMOs, they're really just the latest face of a well-established trend: the shitty game port.

Any even remotely promising IP gets a game port at some stage, usually right after (or in some cases even before) the release. Most of these are shit - MMO or not. Before MMOs it was third-person action games (Two Towers, anyone?), before that it was the obligatory RTS conversion (even Aliens and Halo got one of these).

And pre-2000? Even. Worse.
(http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/moviegames/ - no I can't be arsed linking it properly)

Even if they are doomed to fail most of the time, at least this latest spate of MMOs shows some effort on the developers' part.

I said The Elder Scrolls Online 'could be interesting' because the singleplayer games are based around mostly-static characters giving quests out in regions denoted by biomes. If the single player games can get by on little depth and simplistic dungeon-diving and artefact-finding, there's no reason why you couldn't found an MMO on the same premises. There's my justification for using the phrase. And I didn't even change the subject.

faefrost:

Thanatos2k:

Maphysto:
Everquest Next is about the only MMO I have any hope for, and that only because it looks like they're trying to move away from the whole static theme-park approach. I have some friends who keep trying to convince me to get on ESO because "It's not like any other MMO," but everything I've seen on it points to it just being another same-old grind with slightly different combat and art design.

While I agree with you to a degree, this would be hard to implement, since one of the primary reasons people get offed in GoT is to keep them from spilling your secrets and plots.

So let's say you're some high lord in King's Landing, and you're planning to assassinate some prick you don't like. But then this other guy finds out about your plan and threatens to squeal, so now you have to kill him. Once that character is dead, you can scheme in peace... for five minutes as the player rolls a new character and PM's the guy you were gonna assassinate.

See, exchange of information is key for player-driven games. In Westeros, information can only ever travel as fast as a raven can fly or a messenger can ride. But in an mmo, information moves at the speed of instant messages and Skype calls. What people know or don't know about the actions of other characters is integral to the intrigue of GoT, so having players who are able to communicate instantly from across the map, or retain knowledge from previous characters, would make it nearly impossible to simulate.

There would be no "PMs." You would only be able to speak to people in sight. But maybe someone is hiding in a hallway nearby, listening....

Of course, this doesn't prevent out of band communication, but that only ramps up the paranoia even more. Are they talking behind our backs? That IS just a bot in our vent channel, right?

And who are you going to trust with your contact information.....?

One MMO actually managed to accomplish this feet of only nearby or LOS communications. Albeit unintentionally. Asherons Call 2, shortly after its release when its crapy experimental Microsoft Chat Server system imploded and remained broken for months. You could only chat with people in your immediate area. It killed the game. It never recovered.

Well yeah, the game was built assuming the functionality would be there, and then it wasn't. It's kind of key for an MMO with grouping functionality.

A Game of Thrones MMO would be sandbox - there would be no groups, and no need for such things.

Need more highly customizable MMOs and less generic overly scrutinized watered down bore fests. Hell I've spent more money on Champions online simply because you can customize so much. Make a creation kit for TESO and keep PVP out of it and I will buy in.

MMO adaptions are generally terrible. Unless a game franchise is created specifically to be an MMO (ie Guild Wars), or the game does something quite revolutionary (World of Warcraft, at the time), I find most MMO adaptions to just be terrible and shallow. From what I played of the beta, The Elder Scrolls Online is a prime example of this, even though the Elder Scrolls as it is, is generally not an overly rich experience, they somehow managed to dilute everything further to create a game that was just thoroughly tedious and not enjoyable in the slightest.

It seems to me that if you wanted to adapt GoT to be an MMO, it would be better handled by the guys who make EVE Online... GoT is about politics, not combat.

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