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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:17AM Lobotomist said

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When I just entered the world of MMORPG (which was before the term was crafted)

I played MUD trough telnet. Yes there was no internet still.

The potential for this genre was so great it was mindblowing. Shared virtual world shared and shaped , not by prescripted events and computer controled AI, but by players. Real living people inside virtual world.

When the first MMOS started it seemed all is actually moving this way. With Ultima Online , Ascherons call ...etc

But than Everquest came, and finally WOW to put the nails of coffin of virtual worlds.

Instead of virtual world we started heading into direction of regular prescripted computer rpgs, with multiplayer built in.

And we are heading that way faster and faster.

There are few exceptions to the rule. EVE being most mainstream.
But they are only here as a sore in the eye. To show us where it all could head if game industry didnt tumbled down the wrong path.

Let me just use the words we hear spoken about many MMOs in recent times.

Virtual Worlds : Shame, they had such potential.

Posted: Oct 5th 2010 7:13AM Ardwulf said

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Your chronology is a bit off - EQ predates AC by about 6 months.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 10:29AM Thac0 said

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I remember playing MUDs through telnet too! Those where the days. I used to get sent to "prison" for yelling a lot and interrupting peoples Cyborz. Yes there was so much potential...

SWG was my first MMO as we know them now and I really really miss its virtual world with cities and its economy and interconnectedness. I'm so bored with theme parks, they don't excite me.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:42AM Minofan said

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No; but then I never experienced them much to have anything to miss.

I'm very much an achiever and - while I like many flavors of achieving (exploration/achieveing, socializing/achieving, PvP/achieving in moderation) - my interest simply isn't held by virtual words where the world itself is the point of playing.

Posted: Nov 13th 2010 3:01PM (Unverified) said

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"I'm very much an achiever..."

Now that's what I call COMEDY GOLD. Here's something you can achieve: log off WoW and move out of your mother's basement. Something isn't an "achievement" just because Blizzard has brainwashed you into believing it is.

I know quite a few people who have developed serious technical and creative skills, and launched new careers for themselves in Second Life, and/or using the skills developed therein. How does that compare to beating up some pixels? Paid any bills with your WoW crafting "skills" lately?
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:43AM PaterFrog said

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I personally want more virtual worlds with pretty much unending possibilities to build what you want, how you want and when you want. The reason I rarely play any such game is because all of these games usually have time as the restricting factor. I only tested that game Worm a bit, but having to spend hours walking around or days shoveling some earth and digging through three grass stalks isn't really my idea of fun.

That said, I don't mind the mainstream way of WoW, it gets stale after a month or so, then you just cancel your sub and then at some point you want to do it again.

Today's title that remind of Virtual World is mostly Love and probably Minecraft, which I never really got into. Love is absolutely great but a dangerous time sink, since it kind of puts you into a dreamy trance with those beautiful graphics.

What I define as virtual world is first any kind of world you move around in virtually. Be it WoW, EVE, GW or Pirates of the Burning Sea (PotBS). What I want to see as a virtual world is a game similiar to PotBS, except you can freely decide when to belong to a nation or not, wether to build your own empire and the very focus should be sailing and battling with your ship, and not from a bird perspective, but running around on the decks screaming orders at your mates. As long as it doesn't get as complicated econ-wise as EVE, that'd be a game worth paying for. :D

What I'm really looking forward though, are the many new and different systems and innovations we'll see in GW2. If ArenaNet continues to show us only finished and close to polished features instead of promising tons which are then withdrawn only one month later *glancing blizz-way*, I even believe that GW2 will not be only hype-and-crash like Aion and WAR was for me.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:53AM darzin said

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I miss the idea of the Virtual World. Even World of Warcraft had part of that Virtual World feeling. Granted it wasn't a sandbox game, but it had enough things to do -- quests to run, people to meet, in game events, and even simple things like resource gathering -- that it made the world feel mostly alive and complete.

Yet, more games have gone away from open world games with a vast richness of activities to a more focused and linear path. Run dungeon X to finish quest Y to access Dungeon Z and get epic loot. Don't worry about gathering resources, or crafting, or factions, or making friends, or being in a guild for any purpose other than to run raids. The game will take care of all of your needs.

There will probably never be another Asheron's Call or Eve or even Vanilla WoW, but MMOs have devolved into essentially Co-op games with a 3D graphic chat hub and immediate access to linear dungeons.

Give me places to explore, herbs or ore to gather, over world enemies to defeat, and a good combat system and I am happy. Combat should involve more than who has the fastest trigger finger in epic fantasy games. It should evoke a feeling of epic battles where you use skills both physical and in game to fight. WoW's tab, 1,1,1,2 is a little stale and Vindictus' press your mouse button as fast as you can is a little obnoxious. Somewhere in between where keystrokes and mouse strokes meet would be nice.

To answer the question: yes, I miss a good virtual world.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:16AM (Unverified) said

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it's a shame that people think games like EVE are "complicated". The issue is that the majority of "gamers" now, are the new generation of mush-for-brains spoon fed tools, who think that anything beyond point-click ( or more accurately...move the joystick...hit "a".... *eyeroll* ) is too complicated.

People are too willing to be spoon fed whatever garbage is thrown around. Things like patience and thought are seen as "not fun", but mindless grinding for deeds and quests is suddenly the super cool fun thing to do! It's sad, and a little bit scary that anyone would allow themselves to fall to such a low level of autonomy.

The market will continue to go the way it is, regardless of what anyone thinks, unless the amount of people who actually want to play games as a means of enjoying themselves, and using their brains is larger than the amount who just go into zombie mode and buy/play whatever is easy.

It's a shame, but frankly it's the way many things in the world are going these days...

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:34AM darzin said

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What MMO featured patience and thought exactly and not grinding or questing? And since when do you get to decide what is considered garbage as far as content goes? Did you become the king of mmoland last night? Have you ever played an MMO? In fact your diatribe sounds more oriented towards console gaming where puzzle games (which there are still plenty of) were once more predominate than MMOs which rarely, if ever, featured anything involving patience and thought.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 10:01AM (Unverified) said

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EVE IS complicated. Not that it's a problem. But don't fool yourself into thinking that EVE's got a low barrier of entry. The game is probably less complicated then it looks but it does nothing to show it and could definitely benefit from a little hand-holding just to get you started.

Starting playing EVE is like sitting inside the cockpit of the space shuttle and someone tells you: "Go to the moon now!".

EVE looks fun, but the amount of information it throws at you when you log-in for the first time is a complete turn-off.

On the other hand, it makes it feel like an elite-club and maybe that's what they are shooting for.

On topic: best virtual world for me: Planetside. The second you go in and join a battle you completely forgot there's a "real world" outside. Best MMO experience I ever had.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 10:07AM (Unverified) said

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For starters, I never specified any content was garbage, only insinuated that pointless, mindless grinding was not "content". I believe there are many people who would agree that is a fact, not opinion.

Your rage after that point in the comment rendered the rest of your statement silly and pointless, but the fact is, there are games out there that require thought and patience, EVE is, as was stated previously, the most main-stream example. you don't rush into ANYTHING in eve, unless of course you've carefully planned to do so ahead of time :). You also need to keep your wits about yourself at ALL times. These are things that provide one of the most in-depth, intelligent, and amusingly paranoid communities in any game. Compared to the typical mmo where the most complex thing you ever see is "49tank LF healer" spammed 1000x in chat.

That being said, my rage towards consoles is infused into this argument, because consoles are a huge detraction from gaming these days. More and more companies are designing games for consoles, and porting them to PCs, rather than the other way around. This is starting to affect mmo's now more and more as well, and brings in a "younger, wider audience". Sadly, this translates into "We can sucker kids and old people into playing whatever we want, so ignore those who have kept us in business this far, and make games that cater to a lower IQ and 15 minutes a day!".

Signed,

King of MMOLand.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 10:28AM Aganazer said

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@phitch

Yes, all MMOG's have something that can be called grinding and questing and yes, that particular activity doesn't require much thought. The problem is that most MMOG's stop there and don't even try to be anything more than that. Those games are the garbage that Miroven is ranting about. I agree with him.

Have you ever studied the economy in EVE? Probably not since it requires patience and thought. The flow of goods and resources, production chains, transport, supply and demand, contracts, shareholders, etc. The EVE economy is just one example of what is possible in a true virtual world.

It doesn't take the king of mmoland to see that the mainstream theme-park MMOG's are lacking in virtual world features.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 10:38AM PaterFrog said

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Miroven, i kind of admire the wish to think deeply into your future in an MMO, but the problem is, the everyday world forces you to do that.

If you say that we become mindless zombies in games, then that would very much tell you, that we are not permitted to do so in real life anymore. We were nigh mindless zombies some hundred years back, when everything was ruled by fat mindless zombie kings and all the zombies had to do was to till their gardens and have some worries about the next day and the food the day after that.

Today, we have to start planning our entire lifes a bare 10 years into that very life. I really can't agree if peope say, that we have become nothing but mindless zombies on autopilot. I totally wouldn't mind if I didn't have to take care of so many documents and plans and stuff and could be a bit more zombie. Really.

If I play a game, I want to be able to just let my instincts run wild and quit thinking about every fucking single action I might need to do three months from now. That's not gaming, that's dying for me. Puzzles might be fun, but they get so repetitive... lol.
I'm not saying I enjoy grinds, grinds don't exactly cater to your instincts, I think. Grinds are probably a first class tool to test how long it takes to break a man's spirit, or a woman's spirit for that matter, but they definitely aren't content of any sort. Definitely not, since they don't enrich the game experience.
Well, that depends on what you understand as grind, I guess. For me the meaning of the grind in MMOs goes really far, it might be the killing of the same mob for the nth time, or just doing the hundredth variation of the same quest to earn another zero point three percent towards the next level. Leveling is done wrong anyways, leveling should be more of a tutorial, not three months of content, in my opinion. I mean, really, why should I be restricted to a fraction of my potential to run wild anyway?

Brrraaaaaaainns
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 2:38PM (Unverified) said

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@pater.frog

I agree, if people want the perfect sandbox look out your window.

That aside,
Miroven I somewhat agree with your post in that I prefer games which promote and reward forethought and creativity. However, if I'm reading this correctly your statement suggests that games made for consoles naturally tend towards a "Zombie Effect." At face value, the main difference between consoles and PC are the control scheme. Thus it seems you're asserting that developing for a simpler, dare I say more stream-lined, interface pushes games towards this "Zombie Effect." I think there are plenty of people in HCI who would jump on you for that, but I think it's an interesting suggestion. It's not so much that it would be impossible to create valid sandboxes for console control schemes but perhaps this poses some sort of perceived limit on designers.

It's just as likely that the target audience, as you specify, or barrier to entry is what limits the presence of "sandboxes" when developing for consoles. If it's that companies tend to cater towards a target audience that does not buy sandboxes then there are valid market forces at fault there. However, I think that there is sufficient demand for sandboxes to promote development from smaller companies and independent developers who can operate with the smaller revenue stream. For example, CCP (though they're growing from their capitalization on this market). However the barrier to entry for console development is currently quite large. As companies open up their SDKs for indie releases, a new trend, this will come down quite a bit. Then we may start seeing sandboxes on consoles. Which, when and if ported to PC will still be sandboxes.

Your comment also suggests that the companies that were making games for PC, then switched to console and started porting back to PC, were making "virtual worlds" to begin with. I think you'll find this is not the case.

Blame the small market and barrier to entry for lack of virtual worlds, not development studios or consoles. In my experience the people who want a deeper virtual world, or something which takes more thought, has always been a small contingent and will remain so. One could say that the mainstream market are for those who play as recreation (pater.frog covered this well) while this small group who demands something more and deeper out of their games are more closely related to hobbyists.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:28AM Snichy said

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The main reason I play and stay with an MMO game is because the world feels open, immersive and persistent. I really hate instancing as there are plenty of single player game out there where you can play alone; even though I dont get involved much in the social side of MMO's, I still need to feel I am in a busy and populated world.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:29AM Ragemore said

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Games like UO and ShadowBane, and EVE have given us a glimpse of what is possible, but even these are mere shadows to a true virtual world.

I believe a true virtual world will only be built when the developers create a world that live and breathes to it's own AI. All resources are put into making the world function on it's own, and adding players is more of an after thought. Random events that the AI has to react to, the rise and fall of different types of civilizations happen all of their own accord.

I think it is coming. read books like Snow Crash, or watch the movie Matrix and you will get the idea.

When you are in game and ask yourself this rhetorical question, "Will this world continue even after all the players are gone?" That is when a virtual world has been created.

Or picture this scene:

You sit upon a grassy hill, just below you you can see a grassy valley with a river that runs through it. You sit here for days never moving, only watching. On the third day a wander group of humans find the valley and the river, they set up tents and camp. They begin to hunt and gather within the area, day after day goes by and the group gets a little bigger, and builds a few more structures, it goes from a camp to village, to a town.

You still sit and watch.

Another group comes and raids the town, running fights happen all over the valley, the town is burned to the ground, a group of humans take what remains and heads off into the distance.

You still sit and watch.

The valley returns to grass and trees and a river, no noticeable sign of any humans remain, you stand up and walk away.

You are the only "player" to have witnessed the entire struggle from start to finish, the world moves on.

That is the world I wish to see.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:48AM Lobotomist said

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Funny thing is that this is very much possible to do.

Only thing preventing this is laziness and excuse making on side of major programmers in game industry (and lack of interest)

For what you described exists in a game developed by no more or less than independent non profit hobby devs :

Dwarf Fortress

http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:43AM Lobotomist said

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I just wanted to add , that although some virtual worlds do exist - Namely EVE

It is sad that idea of virtual world sandbox somehow got bundled with hardcore PVP mentality

So now whenever someone talks or mentions sandbox MMO people immediately think of PK, griefers , and overpowered PVP factions hunting for helpless newcomers and ruining the whole gameplay joy.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:49AM Ayenn said

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Smoke crack much? WoW is so completely not anything like a VW. It is one of the worse prescripted games in existence. Some would argue that WoW is the reason the VW is being replaced by the prescripted multiplayer RPG. It seems you do not understand what is meant by there term Virtual World.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:59AM Ardwulf said

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EVE Online, EVE Online, EVE Online. Why is it that people forget about it when pining away for sandbox worlds?

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