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Posted: Apr 7th 2009 1:14PM (Unverified) said

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I just have to say that the whole 'name' part of your argument falls pretty flat. Sure, Anarchy Online or Tabula Rasa don't evoke anything by their name, but neither do Everquest or Asheron's Call. The names of most MMOs are meaningless drivel, not just Sci-fi MMOs.

The point of historic fantasy and legend giving a shared and understandable experience to players of fantasy games is well made, but the names of the games have nothing to do with it at all.

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 1:19PM (Unverified) said

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You forgot Phantasy Star Online and Universe, both were successful and Universe is still going. They may not have a million subs but they have put out a expansion for Universe so that has to mean they still have a good core base of fans.

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 1:31PM (Unverified) said

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I feel like such a bad person hoping so badly that Interplay fails to bring a Fallout MMO to the table so that Bethesda can get the rights. On one hand, its real people with real jobs and I shouldn't be hoping someone is doing so badly, but on the other hand...

Interplay sucks.

Think about it Interplay, you'll get to play a Fallout MMO and enjoy it! Let Bethesda get the rights, you know its the right thing to do. You have not the resources nor the money, nor the talent! So you might have one or two of the original crew, are you expecting to put out a 2D MMO? Legacy developers mean nothing! Let Bethesda have it!

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 11:29PM UnSub said

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Are you aware of Project V13, which is Interplay and Masthead? That's most likely the actual Fallout MMO you are talking about.

Also Fallen Earth, Icarus Studio's post-apoc MMO that is currently in closed beta.

On topic: I agree with the point that sci-fi can be a lot more dense and harder to understand that high fantasy. I also don't think SWOR is going to be this genre's particular saviour.
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Posted: Apr 7th 2009 2:04PM Gaugamela said

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I don't think the name of the games has anything to do with it...
What you could have mentioned is the recognition that a certain IP has with people.
The point you made about phantasy being based on the myths of ancient history is true and makes every phantasy based game share many common traits (Elfs in nearly all of them? Dwarfs closely following and Orcs?) because there's only so much material where phantasy games can draw inspiration. In that aspect scifi is waaay more open ended.
However, there are some very solid scifi IPs with lengthy backgrounds that can potentially be translated into an MMO and draw big masses solely by being an MMO about that IP! SW:TOR is one of those (It joins the SW fans with the Bioware fans), WH40K is another one (allthough i am afraid this one will flop), STO and many more that could be used like Fallout, Mass Effect, Firefly, BSG, Transformers, etc, etc etc.

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 11:36PM thebigJA said

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fantasy, not phantasy
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Posted: Apr 7th 2009 2:38PM (Unverified) said

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I don’t think sliming down the complexity is really an answer. People who are truly interested in any form of science fiction are intrigued by its complexity. Science fiction is generally a very cerebral genera. There are exceptions, of course, Star Wars being one of them.

It is of my opinion that the designers must choose their target audience. If they want to try and manufacture a WoW in space for the sub numbers, well yeah, make the MMO so simple that a 10 yo can play it. if they want to create a work for a science fiction audience, consumers of what i have come to term :greasy sc-fi”, then complex skill systems like those found in EVE and pre-NGE SWG should be part of the “feature” list.

This is your opinion, and that is fine, but it should not be a standard by which all MMOs are developed, science fiction or not. by making something a simplistic linear level based system you are extracting one of the things science fiction fans enjoy the most... an emulation of complex technology and the presentation of a “sky is the limit” form of character development.

If this means under 500,000 users, so be it. EVE, the most complex MMO in existence, still makes roughly 7.5 million a month before cost. SWG, before NGE was making 3 million + a month before cost. By any measure of finance these numbers spell success... unless your a greedy bustard who thinks they can replicate the WoW 10 million + sub freak occurrence.

This is as much a question of audience as it is art.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 4:25AM (Unverified) said

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The thing about Star Wars is that if you look beyond the robots and space ships, it's really a fantasy story about a bunch of priest/wizard/fighter compound characters fighting each other. The star wars story could easily enough be retold in a traditional fantasy setting with space ships and planets changed to horses and villages.

Unlike your typical sci-fi story, there's no "social impact from scientific advance" in Star Wars. The basic premise is "what if people could do magic?" with some "oh, look! A space ship!" thrown in to appeal to a society where the space program was still very popular.
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Posted: Apr 7th 2009 2:41PM (Unverified) said

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Yes it's a tricky one this. I've been desperate for a polished quality sci-fi game. I was in early on Neocron. I thought it was a really good game at heart but the bugs and instability put a lot of people off. Eve, again a good game, but the user interface is far too complicated. The original SWG was also a good game. But yes, you had to find your own entertainment in that game. There was plenty to do in Anarchy Online but I never really got on with it. The skills were a nightmare. I like Earth and Beyond. But critics said it was a single player game that had been changed to an MMO and so wasn't a fun group game. I think this is what Jumpgate Evolution will end up being like. But pure space games are not causal friendly. People don't like 360 degree space.

I have the most hope for Star Trek online - a universe well suited to an MMO. Space and land. It will be familiar because normal humans from Earth are an important part of the game and we're familiar with the skills and classes. But you can throw in all sorts of aliens, entities, weird natural objects for people to enjoy. But will it be too convenient to solo? After all in the series', one ship could do a lot.

May be we'll never get the sci-fi equivalent of World of Warcraft or even old school games like Everquest.

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 4:34PM Psychotic Storm said

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the main problem with "Sci Fi" MMO is that they are essentially a fantasy MMO with hi tech slammed on it, TR was good, despite what nay sayers say, but it had a "testament" style story, better fitting a fantasy MMO and while it did give the impression of battles been fought, it needed to make it more evident, 5 people fighting 5 mobs does not make a battle and when trying to take a CP the AFS forces never appeared in the masses one would expect, plus, players never saw dogfights, actively took a shuttle in battle, saw artillery batteries, tanks APC's or whatever, teleporters may be nice, but hard steel is better visualised.

I feel that Sci Fi gender is not a thing destined to fail, but something the developers must first understand, then try to create, its the future, close combat classes are honestly something that looks weird and out of place, shooting should be the focus point, technology should not look like magic, too advanced and it looks like it, standardised classes and equipment by classes beyond a strict military environment should not be used.

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 5:40PM (Unverified) said

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"too advanced and it looks like it, standardized classes and equipment by classes beyond a strict military environment should not be used."

This is true enough, but can be solved by "framing". my solution to this for a project I am working on is to frame the entire world in a frontier/exploration theme. Think about history. As people moved west even common people had access to some military hardware or equivalent weapons technology. We still have to play it a little on the conservative side but it has been working out.

If the world you are creating is rooted in more realism as is current only the military, policing forces, a few citizens with the right permits, gangs, criminals, cults, and whack-jobs would have high profile weapons. The rest would be "just citizens".

Now, one could argue that PCs could be members of the military, a policing official, one of those few citizens with the right certification or licensing, in a gang, a criminal, a cultist, or a whack job. There is a president in much of the science fiction in literature, movies and TV shows out there for this idea. (Side-note: being just a citizen of a science fiction world is actually far more attractive to many potential players than other players and developers realize... exceptional citizens like scientists, politicians, and such but "just" citizens none-the-less)

I agree with the melee combat issue. but, again, framing is really essential. It can be done quite well in combination with some skill sets but. stealth abilities can lead to hand-to-hand confrontation. It would not be easily archived and would be infrequent of an occurrence. You are right in that most combat would be at range rather than up close in the general scheme of things when dealing with science fiction.
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Posted: Apr 7th 2009 6:14PM Gaugamela said

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You make interesting points. But in sci-fi you can basically do whatever you want. You just need to think some half baked reasons to have melee being more powerful and you could have melee classes as well.
Hell! I can give you a great example of a setting where melee isn't discarded: Warhammer 40k. The Space Marines are great at melee range (speaking about novels, dunno about TT) and can pack a big punch, as can many units of other armies.
It's all relative.
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Posted: Apr 7th 2009 6:38PM Existentialist said

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The are actually a lot of reasons why people hated the NGE. The #1 reason was because SOE was looking to become WoW. SWG players didn't want a WoW, they loved their game (Pre-cu) but wanted things fixed. Bugs needed to be fixed, holo grinding needed to be fixed, perma death needed to stay in. Grinding in general was a huge epidemic in that game, but the real majesty of it all was that for the first time you really had Jedi in a game who felt like Jedi. It was a true Star Wars Simulator.

After the CU then the NGE was released they didn't only nuke classes, but it completely took away the "Be any 2 1/2 classes you want" and they completely screwed the crafting system. You went from chefs being completely neccessary, an all crafted healing system, buffs needed for combat, and a completely player run economy to non-essential chefs, class healing, no buffs needed, and a loot based economy.

I woke up that morning after the NGE was released on Lok, with my Jedi, into a game that had now put Jedi as a starting class (in an era where Jedi were supposed to be rare and hunted) and a FPS. They turned an MMORPG to an MMOFPSRPG. I do not think that SWG was the first fish to walk out of the water and grow legs and walk on land, I think that the NGE was that fish losing its legs and going back into the water. It sure wasn't an olympic class sprinter because its legs atrophied and fell off.

This is not what sci-fi nerds like myself want, we DO NOT want WoW in space. We want EVE on the ground, like SWG used to be. SOE did many many things wrong with the original pre-cu, but the formula was right. Completely open world (no invisible walls except on the edges of the map and in the release of Kashyyyk and Mustafar) space combat in a ground game (although the physics, ship specs, and lack of huge areas) with a seamless transition, sandbox style gameplay.

Let me tell you about what is wonderful, I started SWG 2 months before patch 9, where everything started to go bad. I started off as a wookiee in Tryannia on Corellia. Someone challenged me to a duel I accepted and beat them into the ground. I told them "Don't mess with a wookiee." Then I rerolled to the Valcyn Server as a Zabrak and started off in Moenia, where I started to craft my own story. I didn't view the skills as a complex thing I could never master, I viewed it as "incredible, finally a game that gets it." I grinded up through boxes of Novice marksman, novice melee (forgot what the basic was), and Novice scout and eventually became a Bounty Hunter who could hunt Jedi. *I* crafted my own story, not had a series of quests craft it for me.

When I got off of the space shuttle in Moenia, Naboo there was not quest giver, no annoying C3PO saying "Sir we need your help." The world of SWG was laid out before me and I was commanded "Do whatever you want." That was the fish growing legs and walking out of the water.

Posted: Apr 7th 2009 7:42PM RogueJedi86 said

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One minor nitpick: the NGE wasn't an FPS. Not all shooters are FPS. The NGE was a third person shooter, like an MMO version of the Battlefront games(which I love). MMOTPS maybe. But it still had some RPG layers under the hood, determining hits and crits and such.

I'm not an NGE player though, I quit right after the NGE too. I was a Master Squad Leader and had waited years for the SL revamp. We finally got it, and the NGE came out of nowhere and destroyed the SL Revamp 2 weeks after it hit Live. I had played the ToOW Beta with the new SL Revamp included, and loved a mix of M-SL and M-Combat Medic(with a splash of pistoleer). Being a godly buffer and healer(and debuffer thanks to CM's nasty non-healing goodies). Officer was nothing compared to the original Squad Leader class. When I moved to WoW, I rolled Paladin just because the Auras made me think it'd be like Squad Leader(how mistaken I was).


Like many ex-SWG players though, I am quite optimistic about TOR. If they copy anything from SWG, I want it to be the crafting system. It was simple enough for anyone to make what they want, but complex enough for the hardcore crafters to go the extra mile to get better materials to make even better items.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2009 12:32AM Lateris said

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Sci Fi cannot be accomplished in a MMORPG setting until one decides to capture the vision, the journey, and the complex interaction between a avatar, its surroundings, space, and a virtual world. And this takes integrity, money and vision.

Example:
Full graphical interaction of a device that makes droids or ships.
Exploration
Planetary terraforming
Full graphical interaction with environments and devices
ARG elements
Hacking aka slicing
Etc


To me devs need to stop making the safari hunter sci fi game which mimics Everquest and make a game that actually has to do with science fiction. I can't stand the fact that most MMORPG Sci fi games turns into a safari hunt. The entire concept of "place mobs here" and "kill so many mobs" to level doesn't work for me in a sci fi setting. It works fine in a fantasy setting. But where are the elements of pushing the limits of MMORPG's. Why does everyone want to mimic the EQ\WOW model? I think designers have missed what a sci fi really consists of.

To me the crafting system of Pre NGE SWG was amazing and touched the future of MMO design on this front for sci fi. Eve Online has touched the future and paved success for space. Slimming down and dumbing down the sci fi concept for an MMORPG to me is not my cup of tea and results in a weak community and a weaker game hence the current version of SWG, which means less subscriptions, less devs, and less everything for fans. I suppose I am just waiting for CCP to build that ground game.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 2:04AM (Unverified) said

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One of the other issues that Sci-Fi has vs Fantasy is classes. There's only so much variety when you don't include things like Arcane/Demonic magic and Religious magic.

Once you add those two, or similar concepts at a technical level, you expand the classes by about 4-6. Many sci-fi MMO's try to do this by race, but a race and a class are very different things.

As a single race, there's only so many things you can do without being "Soldier who can sneak", "Soldier with big guns", and "Soldier with long range guns".

Its the difference between D&D where your class meant 90% of your skills, and Vampire where your "race" was essentially your class as well.

5 races x 8 classes = 40 options

2 races x 3 classes = 6 options.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 5:31AM (Unverified) said

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Some really good points, but maybe checkout www.pirategalaxy.com - it's awesome and looks fantastic, space exploration, evil aliens, all good.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 6:08AM (Unverified) said

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three words:
face of mankind.

the sci-fi mmo where players make the story and nothing is controlled by npcs.
Action, politics, factions, clans and business.
There are very good sci-fi mmo's out there. you just have to look hard.

(for those who know of face of mankind, it is not dead- it is getting re-released. go to www.faceofmankind.com)

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 7:23AM dudes said

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Shame about Stargate Worlds..

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 8:47AM (Unverified) said

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Planetside. Hearing the name makes me want to put on my stealth suit and hop into a Mosquito, then go stealth jack some outposts to support the front line offensive where a hundred or so other players are engaging in an all-out assault.

This points out one problem with a lot of sci-fi mmos. Sci-fi means guns, and click target, click "shoot" is a pretty unsatisfying way to shoot a gun. The problem with Planetside was that there wasn't enough mmo to it - it had no depth, just one long endless and ultimately pointless battle.

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