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Reader Comments (38)

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 8:24AM Dumac said

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The main draws of a currently popular game are "it doesn't have bugs", "the developers are quick to implement fixes in the final stages of development" and "who needs innovation", so you tell me.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 10:11AM Apakal said

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@Dumac
The success of Rift characterizes this pretty well and I absolutely agree.

Not that I'm bashing Rift, but go look at all the comments on all the Rift articles on this site and that's exactly what you see. Solid, smooth, and polished are the most common words of praise. No one is saying groundbreaking or innovative, which to me is what every single developer should be striving for.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 10:12AM Apakal said

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@Apakal
Derp. I missed the implication. Oh well.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 12:27PM Wensbane said

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@Puremallace

It's more akin to having the Lich King send his undead armies to attack Warsong Hold - which would force the Warsong Offensive to ride out and meet them - while the Magnataur go berserk and start raiding several Tuskarr outposts, trampling both Horde and Scourge in the process.
With the player stuck in the middle of it all, just trying to survive...

You're right, though, no other MMO has ever done anything like this. Not even the (in)famous Tabula Rasa. So Riot definitely deserves all the praise they can get for pulling it off.

Also, after experiencing the soul system - which took me right back to my Neverwinter Nights days - I really don' think I could ever go back to a simple "class-based" game.

The ability to have a (somewhat) unique character in a huge multiplayer game is just too appealing to pass up. No more set rotations, no more cookie-cutter specs, no more "mandatory" talents... a rogue can be a tank, a mage can be a healer, a warrior can be a nuker.

If I have this character concept in my mind, for a Ranger, who can conceal himself, set traps, track beasts, tame wild animals, wield a bow, enhance his arrows with fire and even use explosives, I can actually make it happen.
I just pick the right souls (in this case Ranger/Saboteur/Nightblade) and voilĂ !

I honestly couldn't be happier with the game and not just because it's "smooth" and "polished" - which it undoubtedly is - but because of these "little things" that really make Telara feel... alive.
Even if the fun doesn't last, I don't realy care, because it's been an incredible - possibly unforgettable - first week.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 12:37PM KDolo said

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@Puremallace

Warhammer, City of Heroes, Champions Online (from what i understand) and probably a bunch of others, actually. The only difference is that the PQs in other games are stationary and a whole lot more scripted.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 1:34PM Duffy said

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@KDolo

After trying all those games I will say that they only touched on the concept of a dynamic world. And only at some of the basest levels. When an invasion occurs in Rift it's pretty chaotic as groups start running around closing rifts and fighting the waves attacking the town, and then culminating in a boss fight. All while possibly fighting another faction of players. The idea has been polished to a fine sheen and the rest of the game is built around this dynamic content, I think that's why it's working so well despite being 'done' before. And that's just what I've experiences at lvl 10. Don't even know what it's going to be like in the higher level areas.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 1:51PM semajin said

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@Dumac I wouldn't be so quick to lay the blame at the feet of the developers, Dumac. Remember, if you will, that these products (and they are in fact products, not, as some would say, art) are carefully aimed at OUR demographic. We do seem to have higher standards when it comes to forums and publicly denouncing many new titles as mediocre, and yet we secretly play them all the same.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 8:56PM Furdinand said

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@Apakal I think it is premature to call Rifts a success, let's see where they are at a year from now. No matter how rare it is for an mmo to launch "flawless", it is a bad thing for that to be the thing most of their fans mention and not how fun it is or cool the game play is.

It's like if you described a girl you wanted to set up with your best friend. Even if she is always early to everything and every other blind date you've tried to set him up with has been 30 minutes late; if your description is "you're going to love her, she's very punctual", he is going to be very leery.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 8:25AM Arkanaloth said

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Neither.. the player base for MMO's has gone through the roof, and the venture capital expectations for a "successful" MMO have gone up from expecting a few hundred thousand players to expecting millions of players.

those two things combined has led to the explosive growth of "easy to get into" MMO's with relatively bite-sized chunks of time required for them.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 11:36AM madbassman39 said

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@Arkanaloth I agree with you 100%. The user base has expanded so much and now people are looking for different things from MMOs. You look at the original EQ when it was released you had a very limited choice and it was between hardcore RPG fans and... well other hardcore RPG fans. Someone who was not a hardcore RPG fan (like myself) struggled to get past the beginning of the game without the help of a more experienced person. Todays games range from little to no RPG experience (I'm looking at you Free Realms) to incredibly difficult to master games (EVE). No body is expecting every game to be like Free Realms and no body is expecting to be like EVE. In fact I would look at the success of Rift and say that people just are looking for a good experience in games. One can argue one way or another whether Rift is another WoW clone or not, but from what I've heard, its a very solid experience.

I say peoples expectations haven't become lower or harder, they've become more diverse, and satisfying everybody in the genre is impossible.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 8:32AM (Unverified) said

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Well as per the picture MMO
FreeRealms is great as it's rather fun however the downside is that there's little to do and the controls are a bit off with the racing and driving minigames

While it's quite awesome to have broad based MMOs with no REAL innovation we still do require titles that take longer than a year in development to have SOMETHING worth going "Hey that's interesting" about like RIFT did

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 8:59AM Irem said

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I think we're at a point at which the standards have gotten higher. The market seems to be stabilizing a bit, and companies are realizing that they can't just pump out something lackluster and expect to attract and keep players. There's more choice, so people are becoming very choosy.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:05AM j1083 said

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There is nothing wrong with "just wanting to get in and play" a game. If a developer wants sales, they could do far, far worse than make a title that is accessible.

That said, every time expectations are exceeded, the new expectations have just been set. In terms of breadth, polish, features... I think most games need to consider these elements very carefully and dedicate themselves to raising the bar, because each new entry will be judged on the ones that came before it. It takes a metric ton of innovation to make up for a game being spare or buggy.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:10AM Tom in VA said

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Considering the current market for MMO player dollars, I'd say standards are improving. A lot of second-tier and third-tier MMOs are going to bite the dust (or try to make a go of it as F2P). Even there, a second-rate F2P is going to fail if there are first-rate F2Ps available.

Frankly, I think this is a good thing -- developers such as Cryptic et al. are starting to realize they can no longer "coast" to success and profit. So, yeah, I'd say our standards are going up, thanks to increasing competition among various developers and increasing fussiness among players.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:12AM Deadalon said

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I think it depends on what you refer to as standards. If you are talking about fun - then the standards are fairly low in many cause its created around grindfest, like Archeology in WOW just proofs yet again. Quality ? MMOs have never been about quality control. As long as things dont take the servers down - its considered playable and put live. Nothing much changed there.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:16AM Scuffles said

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Hmm can't really say if my standards are getting higher or lower but just being pretty doesn't cut it anymore. I would agree that I am becoming more selective and definitely more unforgiving.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:19AM Chiren said

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Higher for sure. Just look at FFXIV release, which frankly would've met the standards for a MMO released back in 2000.

Our expectations are also becoming fairly constrained as well, and not necessarily in a good way. We expect to have an auction house, we expect to have a transportation system that lets us get anywhere in under 10 minutes, we expect to be able to solo, we expect to have play guidance in the form of quests to harvest 10 livers from creatures that don't seem to always have a liver, and we expect those quest to have an optional, purely aesthetic story component that we can skip past if we choose to.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 11:47AM Scuffles said

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I consider things like an Auction house or In game mail to be something of an MMO widget standard. There is really no reason not to have either. They are tried and true features that just work.

They are also two of the things that I might not immediately be interested in using but do make it a point to make myself aware of.

Not having said widgets doesn't necessarily make your MMO bad but you are somewhat of a dinosaur if you don't.

Fast travel is really nice but its something I can live without per say. At some point I do expect portals or mounts. But I don't need them out of the gate.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:19AM pcgneurotic said

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I like what Jef Reahard said in a recent column; that there's room for both 'easy mode' mmogs as well as more intricate mmogs in today's market, so why must everything veer towards the former? The answer to that lies somewhere around what Unverified in the third post above says - money.

So while the big studios making big investments continue to slide downhill in all the terms you cited as making a more complex game go, it's up to the smaller studios and indies to provide the complex mmorpg systems some of us crave - the Ishtars, Runescapes and Shards of Dalaya guys and so on.

I guess the question becomes, 'Where do you go for a good old fashioned hardcore fix? GameStop or www.hit-the-paypal-button-and-help-us-keep-this-awesome-home-made-thing-alive.com?

Posted: Mar 2nd 2011 9:23AM Phenomen said

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Higher ofc. Imagine Matrix Online of nowdays.

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