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Reader Comments (59)

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 11:44AM Darkkhorse said

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I hate them and wish that MMO's would return to their roots with regard to maps. EQ was truly massive. I am currently playing Aion and absolutely hate their maps... You feel like your in a single player diablo dungeon the entire time. Maps were one of the reasons I stopped playing WAR. they were some of the worst laid out maps I have ever encountered, they made no sense except to put both factions close to each other.
Instanced dungeons aren't bad, but it seems the developers are getting lazy with loading screens when zoning. At least EQ would show you the zone you are moving into.
Bring back the massive feel of mmo's please, k thnx

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 9:05PM (Unverified) said

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Yea Aion was bad with that. they might as well have put signs up. Really takes away from the experience.

GO THIS WAY ----->
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Posted: Jan 29th 2010 12:08PM (Unverified) said

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My biggest gripe come with the Starfleet Traffic Control when going zone to zone.
WTF??? Not a deal breaker, but highly irritating and utterly stupid!

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 12:37PM Cinnamoon said

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Most MMOs on any large scale have them -- WoW, GW, LOTRO, etc. Heck many non-MMOs have them. They serve an obvious technical purpose, and ensure we don't need fifty bajillion RAM to play the latest launch. The better games take them as an opportunity to set the mood, show off game art, and give game tips.

So overall I'd say, no, they don't really bother me much. It'd be nice if everything were seamless, but it's not a dealbreaker that we're not there yet.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 12:45PM Scarecrowe said

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Deal breaker? No way. Load screens are only a minor hassle. And if they include useful hints, then they can be excellent ways to distribute information to the masses. I don't care so much about putting lore in there but some folks seem to like it.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 12:50PM wjowski said

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If we can deal with loading screens in *every other video game in existence since the proliferation of the CD* I honestly don't get what all the whining about loading screens in MMOs is about.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 12:53PM Merikov said

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Well, Everquest 2's load screens were too much of a pain in the ass for me to deal with at the time I played it. But as a veteran of Final Fantasy 11, that game had very short load screens that didn't even have a loading bar to even mention it was there. (just a black screen to interrupt the game) But you always knew where they because the maps and areas were very clear. Cities, Areas, Dungeons. You almost never had to load a new area within an area.

Then there's Warhammer that has whole landscapes loaded up (dungeons, caves, cities) and only had you load for completely new areas.

Eve's load screens annoyed me but only when I forgot to get something at dock or had to travel from system to system.

... And of course WoW, that has almost nothing to wait for.

So it really depends on how it's implemented. Some games do it awfully, with long load times that really breakup the game and others where you forget they are even there, only reminded when you unintentionally walk into one.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 2:29PM zgomot said

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What load-screens in EVE?

You must be playing a different EVE, as there are none in the one I'm playing, bar the one where you log in (and maybe when you dock if you want to count that as a loading screen)
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Posted: Jan 29th 2010 1:03PM Deryk said

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I wouldn't say that loadscreens are a "deal-breaker". But I will say this. They can be annoying.

It would be nice if next-gen MMOs of-late would have less of them. If Vanguard, LotRO, even UO can limit or have very few loadscreens, why can't next-gen MMOs?

I understand the need to keep system requirements low for the "average" gamer. That's probably a big factor, plus it probably takes alot more time to develop large zone-less areas in a game. And well time is money these days.

So no, not a deal-breaker, but I'd like companies (especially Cryptic) to use less of them when possible. Go check out LotRO for a good example of this if you have any questions about it.

Cheers all!

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 1:09PM (Unverified) said

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Load screens don't have to be annoying. For example, in Guild Wars, which is heavily instanced, you encounter load screens whenever you move from one zone to another, or from a zone to a city, or from a city to another city. The loading screens always show some of the amazing concept art of Guild Wars (of course a piece that has something to do with the area you're loading, for example you see a large jungle with some floating rocks for the Tarnished Coast, and a drawing of a massive crab-like structure on something that looks like a solidified wave for the Jade Sea), making the waiting that more bearable. And it's not like the loading in Guild Wars takes exceptionally long, it's usually no more than five seconds.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 1:11PM Lateris said

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test

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 1:30PM (Unverified) said

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BioWare is awful for loading screens. Both of the most recent titles from this studio are a claustrophic's worst nightmare. The linear design of the pew-pew levels, combined with their brevity really detracts from the experience. I sincerely hope that BioWare has a new architecture planned for their MMO. But, given DA:O and ME2, its more likely that SW:ToR is going to be a festival of load screens.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If your studio is interested in maintaining a user's immersion in your game world, reduce your use of load-screens to the absolute minimum possible.

If you don't give a flipping, flying shit, then keep them in. And suffer that bleeding-sub problem that has always plagued your online titles.

Oh, and don't give me that B.S. about tips or screen art. As far as MMO world-immersion goes; load screens are about as polite as elbowing someone in line at a McDonalds. The moral of the story is: don't do it if you can help it at all. Sometimes it's necessary, but most of the time, its just an excuse to get ahead and cut corners.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 11:17PM ChromeBallz said

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Mass Effect 2 has been made more "loadscreeny" purely because of the Xbox360 - At least, that's my theory. They removed the (very) long elevator sequences which covered up the streaming of levels in the background because of the "I WANT IT NOW" people which complained heavily about them. I suspect that loading screens are a much clearer indication of what's being done by the console than an elevator ride.

While Dragon Age is running on an aging engine (basically the one from NWN iirc), ME2 is running on Unreal Engine 3, which technically supports streaming everywhere. You could make the game without any loading screen whatsoever, something i think they may have tried in the beginning with ME1. Some variables are difficult to transition though (airlocks, landing on planets and going into buildings on those planets). The citadel was cleverly designed to mask the streaming even though the viewing area on the presidium is so open, but the station and the story worlds in that game were all done without a single loading screen. I think the production cost for adding sensible transitions between space and land were just too high to justify adding them in.

ME2 was butchered, the added graphical detail probably mean that streaming was too intense for the Xbox, which is basically a windows computer from 4 years ago - It couldn't handle the added information that had to be streamed in. I'm guessing that's the reason for the more noticable loading screens.

Since TOR will be PC only (i can only assume here) i hope they'll try and make the world streaming rather than zoned. The screenshots did make it look like it's running on yet another Aurora engine version (the NWN one), so i'm not holding my breath. Still, one can hope.
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Posted: Jan 29th 2010 9:52PM (Unverified) said

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I played Fable and Fable 2 all the way through and constant loading screens certainly weren't a deal breaker (In 2, the story was)

I would have liked Auto Assault to not have loading screens but it was still fun.

Posted: Jan 29th 2010 9:28PM Xii said

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No, I don't generally care at all. Zones/instances are fine by me. I do find LOTRO's doors a little off-putting though. Almost every other type of game has load screens.

I do like wide-open worlds like in Vanguard, but discrete zones like EQ2 or Aion is fine as well.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 3:07AM Anatidae said

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all things in moderation. Star Trek Online is an example of far too many loading screens in an MMO. The biggest example is that you are in the space station talking to some big wig. Load to enter the main starbase area (not a different one, just another room in the same one). Then finish your business in the base and load-screen out to your ship. Now, immediately warp to sector space... with another load-screen! So it took me 4 loadings just to get to "warp". I travel for a minute or two, then get to my destination and load-screen again!

WoW has a great balance. You load-screen on entering different vast zones or dungeon instance. Otherwise the servers are seamless. Eve does a great job of hiding them with the warpgates/jumpgates.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 6:59AM (Unverified) said

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Load screens that are infrequent and short are acceptable. STO is an example of how NOT to use load screens. You already have warp animation (buggy as it is) that you have to endure each and every time you enter/leave a zone on top of at least one load screen before you can do anything. Then you have the load screens inside an instance, which just baffles me.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 10:18AM (Unverified) said

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I only wish wow did not have a load screen from Eastern kingdoms to Kalimdor I would love to fish and battle sea monsters like in FFXI

Posted: Feb 2nd 2010 9:27AM Saylah said

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@Turlagh - I agree that calling it purely MMORPG does lead players to expect certain constructs such as a more open world and ability to interact with larger groups of players - at will, which you can't do in STO. I think if players went into the game with a different mindset they would form a better opinion. LMOG would be a more precise description of STO game-play.

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