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Reader Comments (69)

Posted: Feb 28th 2012 3:42PM SnarlingWolf said

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First, I think you're confusing people's hope of a great MMO coming along with the hope that the same game will have somehow "completed" MMO design and no other MMO will ever be necessary.

FPS shooter games have been made for decades now, there isn't going to be one that just makes people go "Well now there never needs to be another FPS game because this one did 100% everything". Just like there will never be the last computer, the last car, the last cell phone, etc. I don't think anyone expects what you are saying they expect.

I think people are hoping that an MMO gets it right. Which is to say, and MMO is made that is fun, enjoyable, not a grindfest, not broken, not unblanced, not about raiding the same 3 dungeons 100 times, not the same classes that have been regurgitated 100 times, etc. They want some fun, different, exciting, polished, and all aroung good. That simply isn't being made.

I am a person who is jaded by modern MMOs, I don't play any of them because everytime I try one I am amazingly disappointed to levels I didn't know where possible. I do however still dabble in some of the older MMOs.

Take a look at when there was UO, AC, and EQ. There were 3 MMOs that were VERY different from one another. One had classes, one had tons of levels, one had no levels. One was 100% sandbox, one was 100% theme park, and one was a mix. One had isometric view. One had all original fantasy creatures, where as the others had standard creatures. They were just very very different games.

Now fast forward to today. For every 10 MMOs that get made, 9 of them are the same thing in a different skin and the tenth is a failed bug riddled mess of an indie product that closes down in a year. They aren't making good games, they aren't trying to come up with new ideas.

I typically don't go around the internet griping about modern MMOs, simply because no one cares what I think and it won't change anything. But I do think this article missed what many of the people who do post around are actually saying and actually wanting.

Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:07PM Threecubed said

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@SnarlingWolf

See, the big problem with MMOs (especially AAA/big budget ones) is that the companies making them want to have as many people playing as possible. Normally, when making an FPS, you don't say "hey, let's make this game totally different from Halo or Call of Duty" and expect to make a huge return on it.

Early MMOs (actually gaming overall in the 90s) was more about geeks making something they thought was awesome, it was creating a vision. Now that MMOs (and games) can make a ton of money, there's a lot less of that pure, imaginative inspiration flowing from quality gaming companies. Business says it's not practical to throw resources on a chance, it's not worth it to really be unique, especially when you have to rely on investors (who only have money in your project, not a vision) to give you much of those resources.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:43PM potaco said

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@SnarlingWolf

"I think people are hoping that an MMO gets it right. Which is to say, and MMO is made that is fun, enjoyable, not a grindfest, not broken, not unblanced, not about raiding the same 3 dungeons 100 times, not the same classes that have been regurgitated 100 times, etc. They want some fun, different, exciting, polished, and all aroung good. That simply isn't being made."

I think you missed the entire point of the article: there can never be a "miracle" MMO (an MMO that gets it all right) for the simple fact that not everyone likes the same things. Some people like levels; some don't. Some people like grinding; some don't. Some people like cartoony graphics; some don't. Some people like themepark MMOs; some don't. Without even taking into account the extreme vagueness of "some fun, different, exciting, polished, and all aroung good", it's clear that there will never ever a single MMO that makes everyone happy.
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Posted: Feb 29th 2012 12:20PM (Unverified) said

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~TL;DR~

"fun is subjective"

there can be no 'perfect' mmo simply because people want and enjoy different things.

this might come off as very snippy and/or elitest, but one of the most frustrating things developing games is that most people (consumers) don't understand what goes behind making a game. it's VERY EASY to say 'well so and so should be done and it'll be a great game' but that isn't so. honestly, it's one of the few cases where it's justifiable to say 'if you know better, then make better' because it's a mental thing, as opposed to a physical skill.

old games didn't have many bugs or problems BECAUSE they were infinitely less complex than the games we have NOW. this is compounded in mmos, where its just on an insanely massive scale.
here's a point of reference. for those of you who know about the Old World Blues DLC for Fallout: Vegas, the amount of bugs a friend had to fix in a day was about 200. 200, a day.

the idea of games like dota, mmos being 'balanced' is also honestly a lie. you know the constant tweaks that are done? it almost sounds like a conspiracy theory, but because true balance cannot be achieved, its really more of a temporary fix here and there to satisfy people. of course, genuine legitimate imbalances are found and those are addressed.

fun, different, exciting? i've tried and still try many mmos. some of them are genuinly good, some are bad, and some just aren't my taste. 'what i like' is not the same as what is 'good' either.

i mean, the reason why all those mmos were 'very different' back in the day was because.. we HAD no mmos. its true many mmos are cookie cutter-ish now (like any other game), but many have their own niche even with a small audience. there's also the formula of 'don't break what isn't broken', what people are familiar with and work with best. new tech or methods is always a hit or miss, maybe the innovation worked and maybe it didn't.

'the grind' is also going to be present in any mmo that has levels and/or progression. its part of progression, its part of levelling. the main problem with the grind is how its presented - is it an arbitrary and random thing, or does it seem to tie into the story? is it fun and exciting in some way? the only way to really get rid of that is to just make everything a fetch or dialogue quest, or something very experimental like that one PS3 mmo where you explore a beautiful world (which i'm sure many people will complain about being stupid and boring too, simply because they don't like it)

people will never be happy with anything. that is one of the biggest obstacles in making 'the perfect mmo.'
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 3:47PM Seare said

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Good article. I couldn't agree more.

Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:00PM h4ngedm4n said

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@Seare
Yup, this tells it like it is.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:48PM HackJack said

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@h4ngedm4n No. The first comment does.

What the article does is re-state a thing that every human above 16 years of age theoretically has already figured: there is no such thing as perfection (or, if you prefer, there are "infinite perfections").
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 3:48PM Mtor said

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I'm not expecting miracles. I, along with a lot of other players, just want a triple A sandbox. It's really not asking too much. The only problem is that type of game hasn't been created yet.

Maybe Archeage will come close, but I'm not counting it because it's from a foreign developer.

Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:03PM Lenn said

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@Mtor "but I'm not counting it because it's from a foreign developer"

Oh wow.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:06PM smartstep said

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@Mtor

THIS.

I am waiting for this games to hit western shores. Have two concerns though.
a) For me it have to be pure P2P model ,cause cash shop / rmt ruin what's most important in sandbox games for me
b) good publisher - really one who cares ,actually fight with bots and exploiters (have to remind how Vanguard was ruined cause nothing was made about exploiters & botting?) and just do it's job good. One should say that's should be normal, but well it is not.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:06PM smartstep said

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@smartstep

I mean ArcheAge of course.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:29PM Utakata said

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@Lenn

I know, the inanity of quote is absolutely breathtaking.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:47PM potaco said

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@Mtor
"I, along with a lot of other players, just want a triple A sandbox. It's really not asking too much. The only problem is that type of game hasn't been created yet."

It hasn't been created because you haven't defined anything. As it's been said many times before, designing a sandbox MMO is the most thankless job there is: sandbox players are already a more "fickle" crowd to begin with, then you run into issues like full-loot PVP, free-to-play, etc, and when all is said and done, your perfect game looks nothing like what you imagined and has about 10 players.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:57PM Mtor said

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@potaco Sandbox players seem fickle because there's nothing out there of quality for them to play. Not accepting garbage doesn't mean someone is fickle imho.

It's pretty easy to come up with a list of features most sandbox fans could live with. You're acting as if this is some impossible task.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 7:10PM Mtor said

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@Lenn Meaning it probably won't translate well over in the west or be very popular. I tried Aion and Tera and they both have a weird vibe to them. Archeage sort looks like it will end up the same way.

Btw, you seem to be really sensitive on this subject.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 3:53PM dndhatcher said

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You dont consider WoW to be the first "miracle MMO"? A game that influenced and dominated how the entire MMO industry worked for several years?

SWTOR may be a mini-miracle MMO in pushing future MMOs to have better voice and better single player RPG features.

It is way to early to know if GW2 might have similar industry wide impact on how open world questing is handled, or the policy of removing time-sinks and grind in future MMOs.

Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:41PM Ref Minor said

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@dndhatcher
I just stopped listening to your opinion after the SwTOR section, if anything it will convince developers to minimise it and not waste their cash on VO when they could improve the basic gameplay
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 3:53PM Flicktion said

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Great article and it really is an excellent time to stress it. Between all the SWTOR rage and the Guild Wars praise it's nice to read something sensible. This, at least, should be something that we hopefully all agree on.

Miracle the MMO is overrated anyways. Some of the best times I've had in the genre have been in some of the simplest games ridden with bugs. Pirates of the Caribbean Online was a complete wreck at launch and still one of my favorite MMOs to date.

The cycle as it is, is just ridiculous.

Posted: Feb 28th 2012 4:12PM Kunari said

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@Flicktion "...Between all the SWTOR rage and the Guild Wars praise it's nice to read something sensible..."

I agree, it's funny to see these "Miracle MMO" chasers jump from MMO to MMO. Last year at this time it was SWTOR that was the Miracle MMO, wonder what the Miracle MMO will be next year at this time.
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Posted: Feb 28th 2012 5:39PM (Unverified) said

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@Kunari

Yeah, the voracity that they as a whole hype up games and subsequently bash them is aggravating to say the least. Justin's write-up is very well-written and put nicely, but I think what's being said is for these individuals to stop being whiners when they don't get their way.

They don't get the satiation from their ideals that they cooked up in their heads. This article is not necessarily about a "perfect" MMO, rather what these people have in their mind in comparison to the reality of the situation. And when the reality does not match up with their expectations, all hell breaks loose. It's not pretty.
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