| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (15)

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 8:15AM Nadril said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I doubt it. It seems like, to me, that computer specs are rising much faster then computer graphics these days and I think that the trend will continue.

Sure, maybe AoC might be one of the last "PC Busters" but it's certainly not the last that looks good.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 8:39AM Arkanaloth said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I seriously doubt it.. AoC looks good but it's still nowhere near easy to mistake for "real". The character models and world still has something of a "plastic-esque" look to them.. don't get me wrong I think the game is stunning, but game-tech is still a long way from looking like a scene from earths past or future as opposed to just looking like a well rendered scene.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 2:12PM Ghen said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Not really the point of the article although it was kinda written to get that feel I'm sure.

The question on the table is: Will more MMOs come out that require high-end computers to run, or are those types of games destined to fail because of the smaller market?

Personally I don't think its the death of high end graphics in MMOs but the developer MUST make the game look as good as any other game on lower end machines as well. For my example, check out Crysis and Call of Duty. While Crysis is a beast of a game that requires stupid computing power to run with all the options turned on it still looks just as good as Call of Duty 4 when I turn off enough options to make it run on my machine. Many games just can't do that and end up looking worse than the competitor on less-than-optimal machines.

So the end of video card busting graphics in MMOs? Certainly not, but it will require more work from the development team on top of an already long development cycle.
Reply

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 8:38AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Graphics is one of the main reasons I cite for Asheron's Call 2's eventual failure. It had 85%-95% of what LOTRO has now (everything except fancy post processing) in 2002, two years before WoW. Turbine didn't so much "learn" from this mistake, as they use the AC2 engine (Turbine Engine 2?) for DDO and LOTRO.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 8:58AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Computer gaming used to be a very specialized hobby (playing MMO, even moreso), and many of those who indulged in it were more than willing to upgrade their rigs to play the latest and greatest versions of games (Id software was one developer who pushed the limits constantly with games like Quake).

Gaming and MMOS have a much wider audience nowadays. I think we will see a trend against spec-heavy MMOs.

In the end though, someb company will someday release a game that many people have to upgrade for- and they will.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 9:28AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
For me Age of Conan's graphics were actually a strike against it. Sure it looks nice, but because of those graphics every little area requires a zone/loading screen.

It's a real bummer to have that long pause in game play just to go to the next zone or go into a building. It totally ruins the experience for me.

Asheron's Call 2's engine was still rough around the edges when it was released. It looked incredible but they hadn't ironed out the rubber-banding, which was severe in many cases. Today in LOTRO they have a super smooth game engine, one that took years to develop but is now in great shape. And without all the zoning of AoC the world feels like a large, real place.

For all the flak that WoW gets for it's cartoony graphics, they really made the best decision. It runs great and because of Blizzard's superior art department it looks great too. That's one thing Warhammer might need to step up a bit on. They have a simpler graphic engine which is good, but the art design needs a bit more attention. Either way, it will probably run great on most machines.

It can't be said enough. A gold plated piece of s**t is still a piece of s**t. Game play rules at the end of the day over a nice graphics engine.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 11:21AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I actually Warhammer's art designs look fine. Their going for a different look then WoW. WoW is pure fantasy universe...its really designed to be more whimsical then WAR. WAR is supposed to be grittier with their graphics.
Reply

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 10:23AM Severius said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Single player games that have multiplayer (like most shooters etc) are, quite obviously, a different beast from mmos. MMO's are infinitely more complex and have to account for far more content than what is found in your typical shooter.

There is only so much time allowed for the development of a game and when you have poor project managers something is going to have to suffer. Looking at AOC it is easy to see where they cut corners.

One thing that pushing the graphical boundaries does do well, however, is to give developers a scapegoat. When EQ2 first released it was the user's systems that were the problem. When Vanguard first released it was, once again, not the game's fault but the cheap gamers playing it on year old machines. Now, here we are with AOC and, still, it's not the lack of experience or ability of the development team that is at fault, it is the users computers.

After a couple years worth of patches and engine refinements (read actually finishing the damn thing and polishing it so that it is no longer in an alpha or beta state) everything runs swell. But for the companies involved it is that the tech finally caught up to them.

To be honest, AoC isn't all that much of a system buster (E6600, 4gb RAM, Vista Ultimate 64, Geforce8800gt a system I built myself a year ago for about $750.00 US and I get 45+ fps) the problem with AOC, like I mentioned above, is that the coding is sloppy, the features are missing, and the game is far from being outside of a beta state.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 11:05AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Not sure that the Crysis/TF2 comparison is valid. TF2 has maps designed for close combat, whereas the half-mile-away headshot in Crysis is only possible due to the graphics engine.

Still, I was stunned by some of the scenery in AoC and just wish the gameplay (for my play style) had been there to back it up.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 11:08AM Softserve said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
AoC loaded quickly for me, so I can't complain much about it.

I think we'll see plenty of better looking games. What's important is that the engine scales well. AoC, seemingly, scales much better than something like Crysis... the other difference being that, well, Crysis is certainly considered far more of a "show piece" than AoC is.

Plus, AoC doesn't even look as good now as it should when the DX10 mode comes out.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 2:13PM Ghen said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Crysis scales well, but not automatically. Once you manually adjust its settings to work on your computer the game still looks mighty good comparatively.
Reply

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 12:10PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Certainly, following a trend (like in WoW or WAR) where low specs are viable as an option is the way to go. As we all know, WoW wouldn't be what it is if I couldn't play it in my 1 year old intergrated-GPU laptop!

Like someone else said, it's just a matter of pushing the artistiq artwork above the graphic engine.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 2:46PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@ Kaiallard: It's not that WAR's artistic direction is bad, or that the art itself is bad. But rather that some of the landscapes, dungeons and cities I've seen need another pass or two before they are at the same quality level as WoW. Example, that dungeon they are featuring lately with all the stairs. Many of the walls and floors seem to have some pretty basic textures. They just need to add a bit more detail.

I think they are heading in the right direction and by the time the game is released there's a good chance that it will be polished enough for prime time.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 6:20PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
People who think AoC's graphics are too much need to update their PC, badly. They aren't really that special, I've played many other games with much better graphics, and in gaming, AoC's are just average.

So either upgrade, or learn to adjust your settings. But if you want to do PC gaming, learn what hardware to buy, and keep your machine up to date.

Personally, I've left games because their graphics are just too out-dated and it gets boring after a while. I need some whiz-bang effects.

Posted: Jul 14th 2008 10:28AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Extreme graphics are part of the reason I play PC games. If EQ2 looked like WoW, I'd be playing far more single player console games.

Having said that, I understand the point the article is trying to make. It's also a matter of development time. The more detail, texture layers, etc. that you add to a game, the more manpower it takes to develop each zone.

The game must scale well, but there has to be a high end that knocks my socks off. Frankly I hate looking at WoW. ;)

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW