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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:10PM Nerves said

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I really don't think so. Not in level-dictated games, in any case. People have too much invested in their characters to give up and start again. It might for a small subset of people interested in some sort of PvE ladder.

Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:20PM BaronJuJu said

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@Nerves

I would have to agree for level based games, I don't believe this would work. I can't imagine folks wanting to grind through the same content over and over no matter what the goal was and as Nerves states, folks invest quite alot into their characters for them to just have it reset again and again.

Where some thing like this might work is in World Events that would actually effect the game world and its future direction. Most world events I've seen are just "moments in time" play that have no consequence to others not participating. You have to make it critical for folks to engage and participate otherwise it will be ignored.

Just my 2 cents.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:01PM SnarlingWolf said

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@Nerves

Even if there weren't levels it still wouldn't work. Most MMO players are either driven by loot, achievements, wealth, etc. If you reset that then you break their connection to their character and make it very easy for them to quit. It would require a drastically different type of MMORPG for this to work and that type of MMO would not attract the people who love to see their character grow and gain more loot etc. That group is the biggest one in the MMORPG world right now.

It works with RTS games because those are all about conquering. So you get to see your major achievement (conquering the world) happen again and again. And everyone keeps to keep striving for it.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:23PM Nerves said

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@SnarlingWolf

Yes, I can agree to that. I wanted to say something about the motivations behind playing an MMO - where progression IS the game, rather than a means to an end (conquering).
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:23PM (Unverified) said

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Jesus Christ, Beau! First "P2win is good" and now this! Did you lose a bet at the office to have to tackle these arguments? ;)

Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:28PM Beau Hindman said

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@(Unverified) Actually, yes. The Massively offices are cruel, cruel places! lol

Beau
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:39PM Facial Tentacles said

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I think the time-limited thing would be interesting to combine with a generation system - players won't be playing a specific character forever, but a lineage.

Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:51PM (Unverified) said

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@Facial Tentacles

This sounds kind of awesome actually. Make that game, I'd play it.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:02PM Beau Hindman said

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@(Unverified) Try out Travians or Aloriah. Or, heck, A Tale in the Desert. All interesting takes on the timed server. There are variations on it within titles, as well. Travian has a faster server, etc.

I'd like to see it with more "typical" MMO design like a standard character, but the MMORTS is already like that. You have heroes and cities that are essentially your character. I'd have to take a moment to see how they pass things down, because there are some examples of that.

I didn't mention that Aloriah pits players against a great dragon in the middle of the world, as well. It's a pretty cool design element.


Beau
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:51PM Deliverator said

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@Beau Hindman
What about some type of family lineage system with World Ages, permadeath and inheritance? You'd die and your new class trainer could show up with your Dad's old equipment.

So for instance, the servers could have a staggered weekly cycle as they went from Ancient to Medieval to Modern to Sci-Fi. If you died, you'd get dropped back an Age to one of the servers staggered behind. If you made it through the Age you'd gain power and influence for the next. The Sci-Fi Age could be like a RvR setup that existed all of the time. If people died there, they'd get sent back to the first Age with nothing.

Sorry the idea isn't fully fleshed out, but I should be working right now lol.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:54PM Deliverator said

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@Deliverator
The RvRs were referring to Realms represented by the "graduating class" of certain servers
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 2:27PM Beau Hindman said

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@Deliverator Yeh, that sounds awesome. A lot of the systems are already there in existing titles, but would have to check out my games list a bit more to find some that do a sort of "passing down" of things. I think the extent of it right now is titles, names, stuff like that.

For the sake of the article, I was mainly referring to mobile games. The MMORTS is classified as mobile generally because it can be played on practically any cell phone (most are browser based.) But, even then, there could be a LOT done along the lines of what you mean. I am not sure any "normal" MMO will ever really do something like this. Too chancy. lol

Beau
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 4:48PM Deliverator said

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@Beau Hindman
Ahh - I see what you mean. I still think mobile gaming is going to be defined by the unique controls available to the platform as opposed to ports - GPS, touch, accelerometer, camera, compass and communications.

How about a redesign of Steve Jackson's Killer for the mobile age? That has set time limits and a 'world reset' We'd probably only be able to play Killer at all if it were redesigned - these days carrying around a dart gun might get you shot. On that note - looking at any of LARP rulesets might be fertile ground for innovative mobile MMO ideas.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 12:56PM (Unverified) said

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Its an interesting concept but it has to be done right in order to make it work.
1. It can't be the same content over and over again. New stories or new "server quests" for each play of the world. Make players feel a part of the story and the world, even if its a small part.
2. It also has to be fun for the casual players. If the "server firsts" is the goal to get rewarded, then casual players have no incentive to play. I have seen far too many games that reward players that have no lives and just play all games all day.

Posted: Jan 6th 2012 2:04PM Deliverator said

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@(Unverified)
" I have seen far too many games that reward players that have no lives and just play all games all day."

Another way of saying this is that the games reward the players who are good at the games. Imagine your quote referring to Basketball or any other hobby or sport - of course rewards are reserved for the people that put the most effort into their hobby.
Games are getting to be really weak, bland, watered down and bereft of any feeling of achievement because people are so used to getting 13th place ribbons for just showing up.
And to head you off at the pass - I'm a 40 year old business owner working in the IT industry. The business is 6 yrs old now, grosses plenty for my family and me and I work . all . the . time. I still don't expect to play a *MMO* and immediately get granted a +50 Sword of the Ages an hour in. There are other games for that. Maybe you have the wrong hobby.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 2:58PM Dezyne said

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@Deliverator
I don't think that players need to be rewarded for not being the best, but the game needs to be at least fun for the people who aren't on the cutting edge. If you login and feel that what you are doing will never make an impact, especially in a world that resets once the story is completed, then you won't be a part of that system for very long.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 3:02PM Space Cobra said

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@Deliverator

No, I understand what Unverified's bringing up, but I think while your analogy of pro-gamer is apt, I think there are enough players that do sit and have more time than some of us.

In a way, it is linked to the "fairness" of it all. Beau brought that up in his last article about BigPoint and cash-shops and touching upon this subject. IMO, I think this falls under the same, "We want what is fair to all in our games"...but it collides with "Work shall be rewarded; it's own reward" type of thing. Of course, in that case "work" is "hours spent grinding online".

I don't think there is a perfect system in that, but you can have different achievements or goals that reward one type of player and another set that reward the casual player. It would be nice to set such a thing up. So, a casual player may not get the "First Raid Group to Conquer FireDragon-the-Terrible", but could get "Top Quizmaster of 2012 of our annually hosted event".
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 4:32PM Deliverator said

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@Space Cobra
as always, your comment is balanced and reasonable. I see what you mean.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:05PM valdi313 said

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Don't look now people, but you will see that kind of thing soon from a BIG title.
GW2 is boasting about there W-v-W-v-W gameplay. There will be a neutral field and servers will fight for control. After a certain period of time, the servers will switch, and the field will reset to neutral control.

Personally, I love the concept.

Posted: Jan 6th 2012 1:18PM Space Cobra said

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Actually, Dynasty Warriors Online has such a system. You keep your character(s) and progress made and your housing and stuff, but the server resets for events. Basically, your faction takes over the map and at the end of a certain time, when the event is over, everything resets so people start off with a blank slate to reconquer China again.

I think MechWarrior Online may have done this eventually, too. At first, it did not reset, but then it was obvious that once a winning side took over all the map, it was hard to gain ground, so the Devs decided to reset things once in awhile, if I am remembering it right.

Of course, there are different types of such servers, like the progression servers, such as in EQ. You keep your character and level, but at a certain point, a new expansion kicks in. I won't go offline when it reaches the end, but it is a different twist/variant on what you brought up.

Another variant, clued by the pic you use, is the "contest". The server may or may not end, but players have a set time to get to a certain level. Sometimes they also have to kill a certain boss and those that do are put into a drawing for various real and virtual prizes. Companies could make these into nice events. Although, for me, I might initially participate and grow sour on having to spend time I shouldn't be spending on it while others, who have more time to give, whiz past me. In fact, such people who know the ins and outs of leveling, especially for particular games, have an advantage. So, it can potentially be a bit "unfair" to all players.

Of course, jumping off from there, we all know about certain server events that tend to be time-limited themselves. These tend to be holiday events, such as Christmas, where one can get certain items only at that date. Sometimes content is open during these times and people grind out things before the holiday is over or they enjoy said content. CoH has a ski chalet that many use to lounge around in (and race/ski for time). Speaking of CoH, they also have certain story-driven events that do happen and yes, WoW and others do it, too. This also gives a "for a limited time only" feeling, especially if one wants to enjoy certain game content.

From here, we could probably brainstorm a bit more on things that haven't been done: Mixing real life with virtual. Providing some exclusivity for winners. You don't have to be on an exclusive server for such things, the particular event only has to be time-limited.

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