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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 11:04AM Wisdomandlore said

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Being able to play split-screen on the same TV would be an interesting feature for an MMO. I find it interesting that Strain points that out, as many console developers seem to believe people only want online games these days, and not games you can play together, in-person. It makes it difficult to game with my wife (who also loves those types of games).

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 11:30AM elocke said

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I wonder about the invisible interface though. I actually LIKE my UI's filled with info and all those buttons filled, because I'm a UI clicker in every MMORPG I ever play. Taking that away to make it work on consoles is where the "dumbing" down ideas seem to come from. HOw am I going to shoot 12 different spells without a UI? Map it to my controller? HELL NO!

That's my only beef really.

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 12:17PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Speaking from experience, it works really well with Champions Online. While Champions may not be the best game to use as an example due to the fact everyone wants to hate on it, the one thing I think they did really right was putting in controller support.

The triggers and shoulder buttons of my X360 controller shift the main "focus" of the buttons to one of four areas on my UI's hotbar. Each area has four abilities in it, one mapped to each of the A, B, X, Y buttons. To use your travel power, click in the right stick in. To block, pull both triggers in at once. To pick up objects and interact with the world, press up on the d-pad.

It sounds more complicated than it is. The triggers and shoulders are more "shift" keys than anything else. RT + X is my illumination ability. A push of the Y button without any other trigger is my rebuke. Pressing X toggles my energy builder attack.

I currently have a good 10 or so abilities on my hotbar, and I can flip between them extremely quickly. Sometimes I wonder if I can actually move faster on my controller, as pulling a trigger and pressing a button seems to come more naturally than moving the mouse to search for the right ability in an overloaded UI. While a standard hotbar can only muster hotkeys for 12 abilities easily (1 through = keys) Champions with a controller can assign simple and reachable button presses for 18 (16 abilities + Travel Power + Block.)

That's just my .02 cents on it though. What comes naturally to me may not work so well for someone else.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 1:23PM (Unverified) said

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I can remap 26 keys to my Logitech cordless Rumblepad, plus all movements (and flight controls in Aion). Works great for me. But I do like having the skill slots onscreen, as well as slots for skills/items I only use occasionally, so they are just a mouse click away. So I really don't see any reason to have an invisible interface, perhaps just put in a toggle to make it go away... oh wait.. WE ALREADY HAVE THAT Mr. Strain. You left Guild Wars/ArenaNet for console only MMO games? No thanks, I won't ever buy a console, or play games on a low res TV (I'm at 1920 x 1200 now) as long as there are good games available for the PC.

Microsoft, Sony and the big console software studios are trying to kill the PC (as a gaming platform) so they can lock out competition, kill smaller software companies or keep them from being able to write games for their hardware, jack up prices, and keep wrapping a new skin on the same game year after year instead of actually having to come up with something new or at least well made*. No thanks. And no thanks to console only MMO games Mr. Strain. Make your zombie MMO for the PC (and don't cripple it or do a crappy port) and get back to me. In the meantime I'll be playing GW1 and probably GW2, from the folks where you used to work. :D

*Yes, I know there are some good console games. But with a decent port they are always better on the PC, have more control options, higher resolutions, smoother game play, etc. Yes, with the unwashed (why don't they bathe?) masses apparently only able to handle very simple technology with limited controls, I guess consoles are the future. Welcome to high prices, limited options, monopolistic companies, and the same game over and over and over.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 2:40PM elocke said

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Ok, but what about all the information current MMORPG UIs give you. From health/mana to dps meters, to gold/xp earned per hour etc., zone you are in, minimap with gatherer info. All of these things are part and parcel of current UIs and most of the modding community on these things really has fun with them.

That leads to another aspect, what about UI modding for consoles? Is it even possible to have such things? I can't imagine playing WoW without auctioneer, deadly boss mods, autoprofitX, and an assortment of other UI mods. I would think consoles might hinder this a bit and that's not good.
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Posted: Jun 7th 2010 10:43AM elocke said

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@Thomas

I disagree with your assessment on speed/moving faster etc. with a controller as opposed to a keyboard.

I type 60+ words per minute and can move ten times faster with a mouse and keyboard setup in every game type EXCEPT platformers, which belong on consoles naturally.

I'm not saying Consoles are "simple" just that, there are some hurdles they have to jump in order to capture those like myself who LIKE having a lot of things on screen at once. I personally play console and PC games, leaning more toward PC of course due to ease of use, practicality, etc. BUT I am a true gamer who will play games on anything really.
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Posted: Jun 7th 2010 10:45AM (Unverified) said

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@Thomas

I think you got some of Bryan's and my comments mixed up there. I will answer a few points.

As to gamepads, as I said in my post, that is what I use to game (where I can) on the PC. Mainly because using a mouse hurts my hands (I can mouse right or left handed, but I use a graphics tablet and stylus for regular computer use as much as possible).

Resolutions - there is a huge difference between a larger screen with high res and just using a smaller screen at lower res, even though the 'apparent resolution' might seem similar. Also, it seems the Xbox 360 can output higher resolutions (not sure on the PS3) than I thought, but everything I've seen in actual use has been 720p or 1080p, which seems to be the limit on most commercial TV sets these days. Granted, those are usually on larger screens, but that, for me at least, just makes their lower resolutions stand out that much more. Part of the work I do is in graphics design, so maybe I notice it more. But I also note that in almost every review of any game that has both console and PC versions, they almost always mention how better looking it is on the PC.

As to Microsoft and Sony, I don't want anyone filing a lawsuit against me, but from my dealings in the game industry, observing various things these companies and others have done, talking with others in the industry, etc., it seems pretty clear that long term they both would love to kill the PC (as a gaming platform) to be able to lock in their own monopoly. That is what big companies do, rather than innovate, they try to squash all opposition instead, and buy up anything that threatens them. Sure, they are both making money on the PC right now, but on their consoles they get a nice fat cut of EVERY game made, plus can control what can and can't be made for it. They would love to be doing that for every game sold period, something they can't do on the PC. Same thing Apple does with their closed systems, iPod etc.Isn't it bad enough already with just a few software companies controlling most games? I just found out two games series I enjoy probably won't be seeing any further games because one studio was bought out (and the next game in the series apparently canceled in favor of them doing some shovelware), while the other didn't have good sales in the US (thanks to the megacorp in charge of distribution not bothering to do any promotion on the games), so their games aren't even sold here now. I watched since the early 1980's as a few companies, at first innovative, started growing like a cancer, buying up everyone else and destroying property after property, putting people out of work and churning out worse and worse games. Yeah, they occasionally put out a good title now and then, although almost always from a good studio they recently bought, which soon after is also run into the ground.

Back on topic. It isn't that I don't want console MMOs (although in an ideal world PCs would be easier to use, no driver conflicts, and closed system consoles wouldn't exist), but a console only MMO can't die fast enough for me if it means another step towards killing the PC and only having a few big megacorps running the industry. If Jeff Strain wants to do a zombie MMO on both consoles and PCs, then great. But for him to kind of imply that somehow a console MMO can do things a PC one can't is nonsense. And unless he already has a deal with either Sony or Microsoft (and even if he does, good luck with that), he would be smart to hedge his bet and have a PC version in the works. How many MMO companies have announced plans for a console MMO? FunCom, Cryptic, Mythic (I think), NCSoft, etc., yet so far it looks like (surprise!) Sony will do the only PS3 MMOs and Microsoft, well they don't seem to interested at the moment, as they've killed or walked away from most deals too.

I can see how a console MMO might be able to do something about having several family members or friends playing together at the same time, but I still have this image in my mind of a Wii MMO and 4 people running around and waving their Wii Swords(TM) ... until they all end up crashing together, broken limbs, smashed TV, spilled drinks and popcorn... what a mess!
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Posted: Jun 7th 2010 10:48AM (Unverified) said

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Wow, I should be limited in comment size, I do tend to ramble on and on, don't I.

:D
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 11:37AM Harabeck said

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"Freedom of movement, an invisible interface, vehicle combat, and a destructible environment are just a few of the things he thinks consoles could add to the MMO world."

All of those can be done on a PC.

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 12:48PM (Unverified) said

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No kidding.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 1:00PM (Unverified) said

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My thoughts exactly. So what is this guy trying to prove? That what can be done on the PC can be done on an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3?

It sounds the classic, "Anything you can do, I can do better." shtick.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 11:48AM Greeen said

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if you want minimal interface and a combat system that doesn't (only....*cough*) require buttonmashing, then Darkfall Online could actually be a candidate (let's not take the looting system into discussion here, that wouldn't work at all on a console...)
Having said that though, Adventurine has enough to do with keeping the PC version up and running, as well as keeping most of the customers happy. Imagining them doing a console version with a different type of gamer, it would be a disastreous outcome unfortunately....

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 1:15PM (Unverified) said

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The 3 major issues with console MMOs are:

*Server lag.
*Communication.
*Companies.

The first is because the degree of button mashing that works for a console is heavy on server cycles.

There's ways around it, heavily instanced games (Global Agenda) or turn-based system (Atlantica Online) of the top of my head.

Comunication is because people will not stand having to go between the keyboard and the controller. Which means voice chat.

The final one, is that a regular videogame and a MMO are vastly different beasts, skepticism of SW: TOR is based on that.

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 2:03PM (Unverified) said

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I have considerable amount of animosity toward console games as a whole, largely because of how console makers like Microsoft have influenced the market in their dealings with companies like Bethesda. Much of the reason for the vitriol slung at titles like Champions Online and Age of Conan lies with the developers insistance on developing the games with the console in mind. The result was a clumsy, over-simplified experience that didn't translate well to the depth and complexity required for a well-received MMORPG. It's a pity that Strain has decided to depart from what will undoubtedly be a successful venture with Guild Wars 2 to invest his talent and resources into something that will likely never see the light of day.

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 3:18PM Dumac said

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If you are right about it never seeing the light of day he can at least say he tried. He went from what will be a sure-fire success into an unknown realm and I'm sure he is going to give his best to make it. Which is not something you get to say about a lot of console developers. The man deserves respect, as much as i dislike consoles and share an opinion with Wade, i have to give him that.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 2:12PM (Unverified) said

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Regardless of how successful (or not) Jeff Strain's zombie console MMO is, ArenaNet needs to have someplace in GW2 (a tomb? Jeff's Tomb?) with zombies wandering around inside, moaning "Strain" in place of "brains". Or maybe "Strains"? Or at least have something zombie related as a nod to his previous GW ties and future zombie-ness.

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 3:09PM (Unverified) said

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ahm – i hope he can explain (to a console-hater like me) which of his points isn’t already or can’t be done on the pc? and i sincerly hope the “sitting in midst your family while playing instead of the basement”-argument was a joke …

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 5:34PM (Unverified) said

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neat thing about consoles these days is they are basicly PC's already! Did you know you can plug a usb keyboard into your 360, PS3 and even the Wii? Holly SH!T it's true! And you don;t have to worry about desktop space for your camera movement when you use an analong stick for those controls! WHOA!

Next time you play our favorite MMO how often does your hand come off the mouse? Pretty frequently I bet. I know every time I type in chat both my hands are on the keyboard. Not that big of a deal setting the controller down for a second to type, I do that already with the mouse.

Imagine using the D-pad to navigate your skill bars, after a little practice it'll be just as fast as clicking. Or you can plug in a keybaord and fall back on the favorite 1 2 3 shift 2 shift 3 for your spell casting...

game pads cover just as much as a mouse and keyboard does sans chatting. What the console does offer over a PC market is everyone is playing with the same system specs. This means faster dev time from conception to realization, No upgrading for future expansion and upped system requirements in the future for some gamers. And an even playing field for all gamers.

Microsoft was built on PC gaming. Thats how thier windows platform survived and continues to flurish. I don;t see MS trying to push out the PC gaming market any time soon.

The truth is, Games (especially MMOs) are getting more expensive to make demandign a wider audience for subscription that creating them for the console is a very real and profitable source for future gaming. By cutting out consoles you are missing hundreds of thousands if not millions of possible players that translates into a ton for money missed for game studios.

Console gaming is also much more affordable than PC gaming. You can go to your favorite electronics store and pick up a console for under $300 plug it in a play. You don;t have to worry about driver updates, conflicting system software, workarounds and fixes that are a part of everyday PC gaming life.

I say bring on the Console MMOs the more people the merrier!

Posted: Jun 6th 2010 10:39PM Slowrollin said

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Everyone is forgetting that a major MMO is already on 3 consoles, one being an older gen?!?

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