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Reader Comments (28)

Posted: May 14th 2008 4:52PM Triskelion said

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Cameron,

I couldn't agree more, even though I believe WoW is a better game then EQ1 I never enjoyed the same excitement in WoW as I did in EQ1. And it was largely due to that "fear" factor you discussed. It wasn't so much losing exp as it was the thought of losing everything. Things got a little better for me when my Necro finally got the Summon Corpse spell later in the game.

I remember traveling from Freeport to Qeynos as a lowbie to meet up with a RL friend that had started in a different city then I did. The fear and excitement, the lack of a true in-game map and traversing multiple high level zones was an adrenaline rush.

I remember being in Guk at 11:00 PM on a weeknight and about to log off for the night only to die before being able to do so, then dying multiple times trying to get back to my corpse. This turned into a 4:00 AM corpse run and begging and pleading higher level people to help me. It truly sucked, but death had meaning.

WoW does lack any sense of exploration, AC1 and EQ1 had that feeling, I always wanted to know what was around that corner or behind that mountain. I remember seeing my first Sand Giant in North Ro and just freaking out, or when someone yelled "Specters" and everyone made a mad dash for the zone.

I was hoping EQ2 would build on EQ1, but they dumbed it down considerably, and once they (SOE) got a chance to see WoW they dumbed it down even further.

I held out hope for Vanguard, but it was released stillborn.

Good stuff, good memories.

Posted: May 14th 2008 5:03PM Scopique said

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I agree 100%. WoW is purposefully designed to minimize the risk, though; it's about getting that feeling of accomplishment (commonly referred to as the "I Win Button"), which also means to minimize the downtime.

EVE is really good at striking fear into the hearts of players. The only ways around it are to stay in 0.7 space or above, or to take a large group of people with you, but any lone miner who agonized over whether or not to make a mad dash to an asteriod belt in low sec space for a chance at a lucritive haul can tell you, fear is VERY much a part of EVE.

Posted: May 14th 2008 6:11PM (Unverified) said

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Hehe ac1 had its own kind of corpse run, and you had considerably less time to get back to your body. I remember getting murderlated by a pair of penumbra shadows outside one of the cities out in the boonies. One of the items I dropped when i died (I think you dropped 3 random items) was a sword I loved dearly. After I think it was a hour or so your body was lootable by anyone, and not long after that it would poof. I tried unsuccessfully to get at it, even risking a suicide run just to get my sword back. Eventually another noobie wandered by and we worked out a system of baiting them away so I could get my crap.
I sort of miss the anxiety of the old death penalties. It really did add to a games fun to know you had x amount of time to get your corpse back, it really added a level to the games. That being said I was one of NUMEROUS unlucky bastards whos corpse was permanently lost on the plane of fear in eq back in its buggier days. I canceled my account after a gm gave me the "were sorry, have a nice day!" speech. If we could just find a comfortable medium between the two kinds hehe.

Posted: May 14th 2008 6:11PM (Unverified) said

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I completely agree too. When people take the Bartle test (which is a psychometric test to determine what type of player you are) - it's pretty meaningless these days to be an explorer. OK, Earth and Beyond had exploration as a experience dimension, but game worlds are very rarely wild and unexplored.

Maybe some of the procedural ideas floating around like LOVE: http://www.quelsolaar.com/love/index.html will provide an element of danger through the randomness they create.

I also think WoW has made it very hard to go back to XP penalties. People are screaming blue murder about the cost of repairs - I can't imagine the abuse you would hear on TS/Vent if someone caused a wipe and it cost XP, or something important rather than repairs.

Posted: May 14th 2008 6:17PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah... you'd have to be pretty crazy or be shooting for a pretty hardcore demographic to include XP death penalties in a modern game.

Vanguard tried and ended up nerfing the mechanic.
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Posted: May 14th 2008 6:12PM Graill440 said

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agreed. the author, along with millions of kids and relatively new mmo players do not kow the pure anger that accompanied a failed mission in the older mmo's. everquest was the first to have really , really bad death penalties and over time with the advent of less mmo's like WOW a "new generation" of gamer flocked to its shores.

next to no death penalties or penalties so lax as to make them laughable. i still love the idea of naked corpse runs (never touched EQ, was an asherons call person) and stiff exp penalties, i mean losing level penalties, but there isnt a player today that would accept that as programmed as they are to WOW nowadays.

to many leet kids are brainwashed along with their young friends on what a real mmo is all about. most are under the impression that raids, no death penalties to speak of and large groups are the norm, sadly it looks like the author wanting fear back in an mmo will never happen, the suits want subs to badly for that to happen. if all mmo's adopted this it wouldnt be a problem, but as long as easy mmo's like WOW are around, the rest are doomed.

Posted: May 14th 2008 6:17PM (Unverified) said

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Wait, "the author" of the article doesn't know the pure anger of a failed mission?

If you're talking about me, I definitely do. That's what prompted the article. ;)
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Posted: May 14th 2008 6:12PM Triskelion said

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Today there really isn't any risk/reward, its more time/reward based.

I don't think WoW could or would ever implement any kind of death penalty, I don't think that is what the author suggested. He merely brought up the point that it certainly made the game more exciting, and I have to agree 100%.

Now the only way to get my blood going in WoW is to pvp, which can be a major pita as well.

Posted: May 14th 2008 6:17PM (Unverified) said

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I find even PvP boring for the most part, since you cost the person you killed, at most, a minute or two of time.

Since there's really not a meaningful injury, there's no pressing reason to hunt them down and seek vengeance either.
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Posted: May 14th 2008 7:18PM (Unverified) said

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Good article. I don't have an answer, but I did feel like showing appreciation for your writing. I mean this for this and some of your other pieces.

Posted: May 14th 2008 8:41PM (Unverified) said

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I dunno, I get that old EQ thrill at possibly losing everything by playing EQ and having to do my share of naked corpse runs... Hey, all those old games are *still there*, and there's really no need to keep going for the new shinies when the old shinies are still around.

Simple fact is, marketing makes people want things which aren't necessarily in their best interest, like continual tax cuts for rich people or gas guzzling SUVs. You're right. People think they want the theme park and the illusion of adventure because they are fed a bill of goods.

You'd think that everyone would be leaving old games like EQ and UO and DAoC and that those games must absolutely be dead. I can't speak for the others, but EQ is full of people who have tried the other, newer games, become dissatisfied with the low level of challenge, and come back to a PvE game where, let's face it, you really have to work hard and learn to group and be GOOD at it in order to succeed.

Just because game developers don't believe anyone wants challenging gameplay anymore doesn't mean the old games that pioneered the industry have faded away.

Posted: May 27th 2008 1:26PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Indeed. People still play Final Fantasy XI (like myself) because they love the challenge. The game is very strict and at times extremely brutal with it's mechanics. It's not for everyone, but the people who play really do enjoy it. Getting to 75 is a real achievement, and everyone knows how hard it is to get some of the good gear in FFXI.

With their recent changes, they made the exp debt less of a burden, but it's still a burden that no one wants to have thrown on them. I don't think it's a happy medium still, but it does get the point across in scaring the crap out of you and making you want to run away from the Gigas or Undead you're fighting and hopefully either poof or hit a zone point.

I do still hold the hope that someone can make a non-WoWified game and succeed. Being different from the other areas of the market is a positive, not a negative.
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Posted: May 14th 2008 8:42PM (Unverified) said

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PvP is about making sure you're not the one running back from the graveyard. In my experience people are only willing to run back from the graveyard about 4-5 times before they give up. I find PvP the most fun when you have objectives like in the arenas or the battlegrounds. World PvP I do find boring unless my friends and I are trying to take Halaa or the towers in the bone wastes.

I think the overuse of quest hubs in World of Warcraft has deffinitely lead to the lack adventure in the game. You think adding a bunch of quests would instill a sense of excitement but it actually does the opposite. The developers know they need a large amount of quests so people don't have to grind but they got lazy and just reuse the same templates. Thus the collect 10 boar livers or kill 10 rat types of quests which seem to be at every town/outpost/city.

Posted: May 14th 2008 10:26PM Triskelion said

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I would go back to EQ1 tomorrow if:

- They did a graphic overhaul, I'm not a graphic whore but I have a bleeding edge machine and I want bleeding edge graphics.

- A complete UI revamp

Posted: May 15th 2008 10:03AM (Unverified) said

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You may have given me an idea for a post. We'll see.
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Posted: May 15th 2008 9:49AM (Unverified) said

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Leshrac -- the newer the expansion, the better the graphics. They up the bar every year. Character graphics are still stuck in Luclin, but since you typically play in first person anyway, it's not something you really spend much time thinking about when you're in the game.

-- the UI is completely customizable. EQInterfaces.com has most of the popular ones.

Posted: May 15th 2008 9:49AM (Unverified) said

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The reason WoW feels like a theme park is because it IS a theme park. Every now and again they open up new rides, but the game nevers changes.

We don't need to delve back to old, harsh, and fun destroying death penalties, but we do need to get away from the theme parks. We need worlds that evolve and change and allow for exporation.

And when you go exploring away from civilizations, there shouldn't be graveyards everywhere, you should either be given the choice of waiting for a resurrection, or being revived back in a town.

This is where the concept of clones for futuristic set games comes in so well. If you had a clone, when you died, it could be permanant, but you would use a clone to resurrect and start from there.

So many things could be done better than WoW, and are in other games. But don't use WoW as a judgement point for MMO's, it's the lowest common denomenator, made for those who enjoy theme parks that never change.

Posted: May 15th 2008 9:49AM Graill440 said

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yaaaaa, i saw that cameron after i posted it, hope you got the first few words unfekked, was referring to your late 90's start (new) i was on the phone (grin).

you mention pvp, thats another sore spot with me. to have brutal satisfying pvp you need one thing, consequence, to date, to include those first mmo's there has NEVER been consequence for pvp. pvp is "lord of the flies" in all capacities and will stay that way till consequence is added to prevent the lord of the flies mentality. this could go on for a few more paragraphs......now back to our original topic. :)

Posted: May 15th 2008 9:52AM (Unverified) said

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Heh, no worries. My bio should actually probably say "mid-90s," since I played MUDs before I ever played online games... but that's nitpicking.
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Posted: May 15th 2008 9:51AM (Unverified) said

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Good god, all of you are insane. As in rubbing-peanut-butter-on-your-skin-while-singing-opera insane. If you're wishing for this sort of pain in your LEISURE TIME, I can only imagine how dreary the lot of you are outside of the games.

In case you haven't noticed, games of all stripes are getting easier to a degree: more often than not, you have the choice of trying again instead of harsh penalties, and that's because of a broadened interest in gaming these days. I don't always like the onslaught of "casual" games either, but if companies only appealed to the hardcore nuts like you online gaming never would have advanced past Everquest to begin with.

To whit, I organize events and game time with friends and family, but if things had stuck to the brutal mechanics that are being pined for here most of my little group would have sworn off gaming long ago. And personally, I think that's what's being "missed" here; not the insane ridiculous penalties, but the cliqueish desire of being into online gaming before it went "mainstream".

Call us carebears, noobs, whatever you will - but companies like your money, not YOU, and alienating potential customers in favor of a small vocal community has killed games before *coughstarwarscough*

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