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Reader Comments (36)

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 8:34AM Joaquin Crowe said

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Nope. Player created missions/quests are the more modern replacement, and some are actually quite good.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 8:43AM (Unverified) said

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We have gaming sites, blogs, guild forums, official forums, plenty of place to do all that stuff now.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 8:51AM Divagador said

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@(Unverified) You guys know NOTHING about immersion on a MMO.

WoW ruined this
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 10:04AM AlienFanatic said

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@Divagador

The problem is also that WoW attracted the type of players for whom immersion and "role play" means nothing. These would be too much of an enticement to create lewd and profane graffiti.

Honestly, I think the golden age of REAL RPG's is past. The hardcore MMO player has always been a small subset of the gaming audience, and companies will continue to cater to the wider audience, meaning the dumbing-down of content and indifference towards immersion.
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 11:22AM (Unverified) said

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@AlienFanatic Hence the reason they are just called MMOGs now, instead of MMORPGs, and people call their characters "toons."

In the never-ending battle between the Munchkins and the Role-players, it appears that the Munchkins are winning. :-(
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 1:13PM Daemodand said

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@AlienFanatic REAL RPGs are alive and well, and single player. MMORPGs will forever be limited by the need to accommodate multiple simultaneous players.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 8:24PM Lionhearted said

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@AlienFanatic

I disagree. There's still plenty of great RPGs coming out every year. It's just that most of them aren't MMOs.

The thing about games like WoW wasn't that they didn't attract people who love the genre and appreciate the immersiveness of it all; it's that they attracted *everyone.* The people who were there first and foremost for the immersion were far outnumbered by people who just wanted to kill things and get phat lewt. That was very different than the MMOs before it, like EQ, where most people were as interested in exploring Norrath and figuring out things (ie quests that were cryptic and not handed to you on a silver platter by the NPC who gave it and the map that pointed out where everything was) than killing ten rats and getting raid gear.... especially in its first few years, before the expansions started getting more and more bland as each new one came out (pre-PoP is always my marker in that regard).

MMOs are businesses first and foremost and I don't blame game companies for realizing that. A game designed like the original EQ, even a newer version of it, won't attract the 5-10 million that WoW or TOR could.

If leveling is a grind (figuratively and literally), getting around is a bitch and death has real consequences, it's going to be a niche game and it's tough to get the funding together to be a niche game and still have a beautiful world. Niche games today usually end up being really cheap looking, buggy and lacking in depth. To be honest, I'm shocked the few games that have ever managed to do it got as far as they did, and there's a reason why they still only exist from the early days of the genre.

Still, it would be nice if game companies could meet that happy medium and appeal more to people who appreciate elements like immersion and sandboxes. I think TOR actually made some improvements on that front, with their quest system with actual dialog and choices to make. I just wish they went that extra mile and made the choices you make have *real* consequences.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 10:21PM (Unverified) said

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I would agree that Blizzard (wow) ruined a lot of things, some RPG mechanics (such as sandboxy ideas) were tossed aside having no part in developer vision (Those horrid players shall not touch zee masterpiece!). In Eq2, I LOVED player written books and all the fantastic housing designs. I think I spent more time looking at those (and making my own) than actually playing the rest of the game.

As far as things ruining games.... Goldfarming imo, ruined MMOrpgs more than anything. I miss being able to buy things I didn't feel like dungeon grinding into eternity for. I miss the way RPG's work, when there are no goldfarmers because its a single player game. You have all these types of currencies (pvp points, raiding, dungeons blahblahblah) based on your activities in mmos, instead of a simple universal currency (ie gold) that could be used to purchase the items from things you didn't want to do, but had money for. It would be utterly amazing to be able to play an MMORPG and actually use gold to buy... real things instead of crappy gear, crappy mounts, and crappy novelty items. I want a real economy in a MMO once again. Figure out how to get rid of gold farmers and stop punishing players.
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Posted: Mar 12th 2012 9:34AM ApathyCurve said

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@Divagador

Exactly. For all their sins, Verant understood that if they allowed the players to turn the game into a spreadsheet, (and many wanted to do just that, even as early as '99), it would kill the mystery that is the essence of good storytelling and thus ruin the play value.

Sadly, most MMOs today encourage the mentality of carefully calculated min/max progression. Dunno about you, but I get all the spreadsheeting I can handle at work; it has no place in my games.

Even SWToR, for all its vaunted story (and there's a lot of it), is really nothing more than an electronic choose-your-adventure book. You can even turn the page back and pretend you never made any mistakes. Boring.
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 8:53AM Phone Guy said

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I miss it. Sure we have other mediums for creativity however, nothing would have the same impact as coming across an original story in game that you would otherwise never read.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 9:05AM Flicktion said

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Do I miss them? Yeah, I completely missed them! I would love to see something like this in my favorite game.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 9:18AM Maximum Proxy said

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I was not aware this was ever a feature. Would be nice to see it in the future, though.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 9:26AM jlong64 said

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Yes, I do miss it. All the other areas mentioned are "OK" but there is something to be said for having an "in-game" journal or book that can be kept in a library or shared with others.

It can take immersiveness to another level. Imagine (if you will) an in-game library or book store.....

nuff said.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 5:07PM jeremys said

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@jlong64 Everquest 2 is very complimentary for this type of gameplay. They already have prebuilt libraries filled with bookshelves available as prestige housing.

Some players also have gotten extremely creative and started collecting server-wide libraries from in-game books, written by other players. There are players who have upwards of 400 individual player-written books collected in their house libraries.

Very neat stuff.
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 9:37AM Tizmah said

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Yeah! I remember finding some hilarious books written by other people in Ultima Online. It's a shame MMOs have forgotten about things like this.

Let us write books....Let us play music like LOTRO...etc. We need more stuff like that in our MMOs. It adds much more escapism and makes you feel less and less that you are playing a "game".

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 4:51PM (Unverified) said

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@Tizmah
I agree. Things like that go a long way to turn a game into a world! Too many developers lately seem like they're afraid of creativity, both their own and the players'.
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 9:48AM Seffrid said

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Anyone who wants to read ingame books should play Skyrim!

I have never taken advantage of such a feature in MMOs, but I'm all for having the option. The more options in any game the better.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 9:50AM (Unverified) said

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The author writes this article in the past tense when in fact player written books are still an active and very popular feature of EQ2. Most people don't know that you can also design and build any type of structure you want for your player housing now.

Posted: Mar 10th 2012 1:31PM Brianna Royce said

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@(Unverified) I hate to be a pedant, but "Ancient sandboxes like Ultima Online and modern classics like EverQuest II give players the ability to write their own books" is not written in the past tense. :D Truth is, though, that these are both relatively old games, and newer games still don't give us these options.
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Posted: Mar 10th 2012 10:33AM MrsAngelD said

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I never experienced this, but I think it's a very cool concept and would love too. I think a concept like this could work well in the LOTRO setting. I might actually suggest it.

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