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Reader Comments (22)

Posted: Jan 4th 2012 7:13PM (Unverified) said

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"We were fans of MUDs that were focused first on great gameplay and so that's how we approached EQ. Then UO came out and pretty much cemented our commitment to making a game first and a world second."

I just wish that more MMO's would come out with great gameplay AND worlds. Too much focus on combat these days and not enough world-building design decisions.

"We made the game we ourselves wanted to play."

Always a good mindset for a developer to take.

Posted: Jan 4th 2012 9:53PM 7BitBrian said

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@(Unverified) I agree so much.

It does seem like these older games and developers put more into the worlds their game play went into though, even if it wasn't the main focus. More so than anything that's come out recently anyway.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2012 10:25PM Space Cobra said

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@(Unverified)

However...(IMO)

"Going back to online text games again, there were MUDs and MUSHes. MUDs were more game-centric while a MUSH was more about a sandbox"

I was more of a MUSH fan at that time. I enjoyed EQ, but, for me, it lacked some personal touches that could have been in there that MUSHes had.

If you want "worlds", either a great writing team with a strong focus, or a Sandbox is the way to go for my money.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2012 8:20PM Zantom said

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I'm sorry, vanilla EQ was so annoying to play that only the novelty of the MMO concept kept it going for me.

What game design concept went into the decision to stare at your stupid spell book and nothing else for several minutes to get your mana back for the next fight? That's a winning concept. That is only the beginning.

No other game brought the rage quit out of me more (I did twice in EQ1).

There were great moments for me, but those I attribute mostly to it being the first MMO. Not all EQ designs were/are bad of course, but enough were that what most call hardcore, I just call lame.

Posted: Jan 5th 2012 1:14PM Brainfreeze said

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@Zantom I get your point, and I don't totally disagree with what you are saying. A lot of EQ could be frustrating and sometimes dull. However I much prefer MMOs that are tuned to be more difficult than what is produced today. I understand why MMO developers make games easymode, they have to walk a fine line in order to get as many subscribers as possible. I just wish that 1 AAA developer would think outside the box a bit and make a game where effort actually equals reward, and those gamers that are smarter/more dedicated are actually far ahead of the curve. Instead now all we get are endless genocide simulators where we all get the same easy epic gear simply for throwing ourselves into the same raids that only require us to hit max level, or to toss ourselves into the same mind-numbing PvP buttlegrounds ad nauseum.

But then again, I'm the clear minority of the MMO community.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 1:35PM (Unverified) said

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@Zantom Your use of the term "vanilla EQ" negates anything worthwhile you may have been attempting to get across.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 4:01PM Jenks said

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@Zantom

"Surviving" those challenges was why the community in EQ was infinitely better than any MMO released starting with WoW. When you make an easymode game that can be soloed through to spare "casual" MMO gamers any frustration, you completely destroy any possibility of a real community.

I played WoW for over 5 years and I can't name 10 people that weren't in my guilds. In EQ, I probably knew hundreds of people. That is the experience people miss. They don't *WANT* to stare at a spellbook (which was patched out well before the first expansion was released), or wait for 30 minutes for a boat, or shout for a group so you can actually advance your character, or sit in NFP (or EC) for hours manually advertising your wares amongst all the other spam, but you know what? All those things made you meet other real people. And honestly, what is the point of playing an MMO if not to socialize and explore. People (and it seems like the majority these days) that log in, want to click through quest text, run to a dot on the map and steamroll some nonsense for a quest reward seem absolutely alien to me, and I just can't relate to the weird, reptilian part of their brain driving them to get the next pellet. MMO devs are getting better and better at catering to those people, to the chagrin of those of us longing for the old days.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2012 9:52PM blix2006 said

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Brad McQuaid....say....do you have anything to reminisce about what you did too Vanguard..yea....i remember brad McQuaid....

Posted: Jan 4th 2012 11:16PM (Unverified) said

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@blix2006

Me too blix. I met the man in person and I wasn't very impressed to be honest. He thinks very highly himself to be sure, though the Vanguard thing kinda put him out of the picture for a long time. Guess he thinks enough folks forgot about Sigil and Vanguard.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 3:50AM bobfish said

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@blix2006

I think the design of Vanguard is fine, it suffered more from bugs and performance issues than it did from design flaws.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 10:10AM (Unverified) said

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@bobfish

Actually it suffered from mismanagement of both the company and money. And of course, Brad McQuaid
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 5:55PM henbot said

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@blix2006
I'm amazed that Brad still gets air time after the vanguard incident, not cool at all.



EQ was great, it required sheer determination with a pinch of skill to be successful. Plus the fact each server community was tight which made for fun times.

Despite the SoE aspects, Vanguard today is still one of the best class and combat concepts going in the mmo space i reckon.

Great mix of classes
And the bridge and chain combo system in combat is awesome, i'm surprised it hasn't been used elsewhere.
finally a simply stunning environment.

If you want to waste some time with an pve mmo this is definitely my pick, it's shortfall is that by design it is a game that requires a large population to flourish, which alas it does not have.


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Posted: Jan 4th 2012 10:01PM smg77 said

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Why does anybody care what this loser says?

Posted: Jan 4th 2012 11:05PM Valdur said

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@smg77

Brad McQuaid can be a lousy business man but he is way better than half of the so called game developers we have today.And even with all its bugs,woes and other underlying problems Vanguard was the last real MMO that was designed.The dungeons are the best I have seen until now,Skill chains between classes were useful at end game,crafting,diplomacy in other words there were other things to do besides combat.

There are very few game developers who has the same mindset(build a game that they want to play) and I can count them on the fingers of one hand,Jake Seong,Mike O'brien,Curt Schilling,Ragnar Thornquist.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2012 10:27PM Space Cobra said

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Regardless of what we believe about McQuaid, this is a nice interview. And it ties so nicely with

http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/01/04/the-daily-grind-were-older-mmos-better-by-virtue-of-experimenta/

too!

Posted: Jan 4th 2012 10:47PM Space Cobra said

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On a separate/related note (from my previous post) :

"It (Ultima Online) also reinforced our belief that unrestricted PvP was a bad thing. We'd played PvP MUDs in the past and were not fans of them. The wanton PvP in UO confirmed for us that we wanted to make a primarily PvE game."

and

"We believed from the very beginning that "Content is King". While some other games would leave the end-game to PvP, we wanted there to be compelling content all the way from level 1 to 50. Having lots of races, classes, items, zones, etc. was always the plan."

This right here.^

While I understand PvP can be fun and it is more challenging to go against other players than an AI, it is a limited thing. You can enjoy PvP, but that does not make the online world/MMO have a variety of things to stay logged on. There will be people that enjoy match after match, but there are also people that may want to do something else, for variety's sake.

The history of FFA PvP has pretty much been written already, regardless of what people wish/hope for. I am not against FFA worlds, but proponents should realize they are not in the majority when it comes to a MMORPG, since that is more about stat building (or what have you) and people don't like to see their work torn down as so much a bully kicking over a sandcastle at the beach (like perma-death).

Certainly, there is a niche for it. There are players for it, but this notion that it can break beyond a certain number of subs is false. Just looking at Bartle's, the "wolves" drive away the sheep, which are plantiful and all that are left are other wolves (and wolf hunters) and most of those "wolves" do not like a tough challenge. Not saying all "PKers" want easy prey, but the majority do and they just tend to get bored and leave the game because things are not so easy for them any more for their version of "fun".

Even EQ had a hardcore server (with perma-death) and that was not as popular as their other servers; it eventually got shut down due to lack of players on it.

Really, in short, a best, future game involves different elements. One studio (or person or group) really should just think of their MMO as more of a "gaming platform" with things attached to it. A "gaming lobby" as it were, but more organic in that it would fit with the theme of the game's chosen IP or world(s).

I see no one doing this. Crazy ol' Garriott may, but I am giving him a generous amount of leeway in saying that. His last few speeches and recent game have not supported this view.

In a way, "Second Life" got it right, almost, but there needs to be some control; some "herding" of people (or hand-holding). There needs to be more themepark and lines in such a game. Basically, more control that gives players things to do among the "limitless things to do". Glitch seems to do this, in a way, with helpful messages.

Basically, you need a "resort destination". Think "West World" or even "Disneyland Park online" but more visceral, action-packed, and gamer-related.

Posted: Jan 5th 2012 5:06AM Miffy said

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Why EQ failed right there "game first, world second".......... Probably explains the world breaking expansions that made everyone quit with Luclin and PoP.

Posted: Jan 5th 2012 8:29AM (Unverified) said

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@Miffy

EQ failed? Hmmm I guess I never rcvd that memo; I should cancel my 12yo account, and stop playing.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 1:17PM Brainfreeze said

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@Miffy EQ didn't fail. EQ got old and never MMOs became more popular. To declare it a failure is short-sighted, at best.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2012 8:06AM blix2006 said

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o i know..the design was great...i loved that game when it came out,i still have very fond memories of it..but terrible leadership(from vigil employees mouths)sank it before it ever really got going...McQuaid was horrible.

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