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Reader Comments (39)

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:10PM Greymantle said

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Its all about money these days instead of being about worlds to live in. At least I can say I was there from the start and got to experience it.

We may never see a game like UO / SWG again but that is ok. At least I can say I miss those games instead of being one of those on the outside looking in thinking those old vets are crazy. :P

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:33PM aberent said

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@Greymantle

One can argue that if you build a world that people want to live in, the money will come as a direct result of the games popularity. Currently more people want to raid and instance PvP then play in a Sandbox.

The good news is, if you like single facet open PvP Ultima Online or even SWG, there are excellent emulation communities that are bringing these games to life, with 500 players logging in every night and even GM PvP events. You can still get your sandbox fix.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:15PM Halfcentaur said

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I think my peak experience in gaming was WOW back in 2004 and early 2005. Before I burned myself out playing everyday for hours, I had never felt such a sense of flow while falling in love with the style and atmosphere of the art design. Just looking at the colors and textures and animations had me sated with endorphins.

I remember looking at the game one day and remarking to myself with incredulity that some day I knew I would not be captivated completely by this game anymore. Nothing could last forever, but at that moment I'd rather be playing nothing else.

After a few years, things did lose their luster. Maybe it's part of getting old, I am 31 now, but since that blazing glory of 2004, I've never felt captivated by any game since for more than an hour or so.

Unlike most people, I don't focus on one issue and blame it for my burn out, every single thing that made that game amazing for me is still alive and well there. I just wish i could eat my favorite food everyday forever without getting bored of it.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:23PM SnarlingWolf said

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First of all, modern bands DO suck and I am 30 as well. So feel free to shout it out there.

Secondly, there were a lot of us who did and still do enjoy the harder MMOs. That audience is still there and it is still a good million people. The problem is that another 15 million people got into MMOs and very few of them like what us original players liked back when it was for "nerds".

It really is just a case that every single company is competing for the casual crowd that really likes paint by number WoW and WoW clones. Game after game keeps failing because they are all targetting the one audience because that audience is so big.

None of them stop and go "Hey, maybe we should target that original audience. If we design with the budget in place that accounts for a max of 500-750 thousand players then we can be successful." No, instead they all go "Hey WoW has like 10 million players, lets make a game like WoW so we can try to get 10 million players."

This means that those of us who were there at the start, and helped make this genre successful, feel left out in the cold. No major company makes a game with us as the target audience. It is just like how CoD is so successful so another studio makes Medal of Honor to try and target the exact same crowd instead of going after a different market.

All companies need to learn that it isn't always about targetting the biggest audience, it is about targetting different audiences with different products so that a wide variety can be successful at the same time. Hell look at TV, 165 hours a week is utter crap that no one wants to watch. The other 3 hours 5+ networks all put their best shows in the exact same time slot to compete directly against the other best shows. Now imagine if instead they all placed their shows in different time slots and that we now had a good 15+ hours of TV to watch in a week. Companies refuse to think like that.

Make MMOs that target different groups instead of 10 companies all releasing games that target the exact same market in the span of 2 years.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:34PM aberent said

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@SnarlingWolf

The problem is that the original audience may only have been a 100K
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:46PM Marz said

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@SnarlingWolf

But it isn't all companies, there are non WoW clones out there. Just play Darkfall or Mortal Online.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:47PM DarkWalker said

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@aberent

I believe EVE online, alone, has over 300K subscribers.
EVE is a MMO with plentiful sandbox elements, free PvP, and the closest space analogy to corpse looting you could find.
Granted, I believe it's the largest subscription MMO with this kind of open PvP.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:48PM SnarlingWolf said

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@aberent

Incorrect. At the height of the big 3, simultaneously EQ had something like 250k+ UO had 200k+ and AC had 150k+ which means there was at least 600k+ and that was when most people had never heard of the concept of MMO. The audience was always far bigger than 100k like you try to say.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:53PM SnarlingWolf said

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@Marz

Problem is only small indie companies who don't have what it takes are making those games. Mortal Online was a giant release failure where way too much of the game was broken and a mess.

Darkfall didn't do much better but it also was 100% only targetting the FFA PvP market. I could have a long discussion on why that is wrong even when I like FFA PvP but for now I'll sum it up as; Back in the UO days most people didn't kill to grief or just to kill. The option was there but most didn't exercise it unless they had a reason. In modern times a lot of FFA PvPers play specifically to grief so you end up with a game where the newbie areas are camped and people quit the same day they try the game. They needed limitations that allowed people to get started and fall in love with the game before allowing them to be indefinetly murdered and camped.


I want to see a big major studio target a market other than the casuals. I want a polished game.

To be clear though I have given money to indie studios who have tried things differently even when I thought they released a mess simply to show there was a desire to have a different type of game out there.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 1:07PM Marz said

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@SnarlingWolf

To be honest I probably agree with that.

The reason I stuck it out in EVE for quite some time is because, I could stay in "Safe" space (of course you could still get killed if you did something stupid) until you learned the basics and then go into 00 or low sec.

Darkfall was just a bad experience all around.

But in the end, anything original or even "Old school" is probably going to come from an indy company not a major studio.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 1:55PM DarkWalker said

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@SnarlingWolf

"""I want to see a big major studio target a market other than the casuals. I want a polished game."""

Large studios won't take risks with big budget projects. The big money only flows when return on the investment is almost assured.

Which means you won't really find big budget games that are not mainstream.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 1:56PM aberent said

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@SnarlingWolf

I agree with th 600K estimate but how many of those players, played because of the sandbox element and how many played because of the MMORPG element. I would argue the majority of the 600K did not enjoy open world PvP. You may only have about 100K veteran diehards, the rest went to WOW
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 2:09PM SnarlingWolf said

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@aberent

As I said that was just when there was the big 3. Add in how many they still had when DAoC was big and factor in the EvE is a huge sandbox with a lot of players and your current 100k is STILL far too low, even if you only looked at EvE, a sandbox FFA PvP game which triples your estimate.

The fact is people who don't like sandbox or FFA PvP, or old hard long to level games always down play how many people could possibly like something that they themselves do not like. There are a LOT of us out there and definetly enough of us for a big studio to make a quality game to pull us all in and profit.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:31PM Jef Reahard said

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I don't think this particular argument has much to do with how easy MMOs are (nor does it have much to do with open PvP beyond a very few die-hards). Those two biases are the easiest to build a case against in hindsight, but they don't represent the majority of complainers imo.

The real argument has to do with feature sets and functionality gone missing, and while it's easy to say "the games are still there," well, no, they really aren't.

SWG anyone?

And as the article admits in the opening stanza, "in many of [the games] a great deal has changed to the point of unrecognizability." Some people deal with this better than others, but it's inaccurate to say that the games (and more importantly, the features) are still there.

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:42PM AlienFanatic said

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@Jef Reahard

Heh Elliott is rebutted by one of his fellow-staffers. Yes, Jef, sadly it seems that MMO companies can't simply incorporate new ideas, but rather they must remove any of the old systems that have fallen out of disfavor. Those systems (death penalties, transit systems, crafting methods, skill trees, grouping tools) are often what made the game different, but when removed simply decreases the title's uniqueness.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 1:07PM Petter M said

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@Jef Reahard

SWG remained online for eight years, only to see the license overtaken by the new shiny blockbuster that LucasArts wanted to back. The game was doing quite well for itself when it was shut down, with an active community happily playing away. I am not 100% sure that SWG is a very good example in this case, as the reasons for its demise are more complicated than SOE simply shutting it down because of a lack of customers.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:34PM (Unverified) said

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I don't miss my old games or how they use to be. I find that the genre has grown with me to an extent. I started playing online games a lot while in High School in the late 90's (UO, Diablo 1/2 some FPS) As I hit college the games were getting bigger and better, but required massive time investments. I had games like FF11, WoW, DAoC, AC in my early twenties. I had the time. As I got older I had less time for these time sinks. Funny thing was, the games were requiring less time in game.. That worked for me.

We, the Nintendo generation are the targets for these games mostly. Well we are hitting our 30's now. We don't have time massive time sinks in games with work, family & friends. I am glad to see games get more stream lined as I get older, because if they weren't I would not be able to play them and get anything out of them.

I look back now and think... dang... all that time in these games for minimal results... Well.. that stunk... Many of these games required you to play it like a second full time job. It's not necessary.

If you are my age and have a family you are doing your family a great disservice by playing any of these time sinks. I am glad to see games going in the direction that they are. It means I can play them.. at night... when the kids are asleep for a few hours maybe if the wife doesn't need a reading/movie buddy.

Posted: Mar 17th 2012 11:21PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)
I really don't mind that less effort is required to get things out of the game.
I do lament that people who are able to put in more time, are capped, or otherwise thwarted (daily limits) for being able to give more effort.
To me, that's just as unfair. There are obviously two types of people. Those with more time, and those with less time. If people with less time complain that they "have lives"... where does that leave the people with more time?
Just screw those people, they don't count?
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:37PM (Unverified) said

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I am not saying I dojn't enjoy "hard" games anymore... Just the ones that require me to live in them to enjoy them ;-)

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:49PM AlienFanatic said

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@(Unverified)

TBH, I think the main problem is leveling. I'm sick to death of it. I've played RPG's since the 80's and I'm dead sick and tired of leveling from 1-50, slowly collecting skills as I go.

Why not stop the whole idea of leveling and instead focus on exploration and such? Why not give us games where you have to research new skills and spells and, without which, you can't defeat the most powerful enemies?

With a system like that you could easily create a game that rewards players for small time investments while providing an architecture of quests and tasks that actually made more sense than "kill 10 of X" to get your nugget.

There are so many possibilities out there if developers would just stop following the same lemming leaders and explore other ideas for MMO structures.
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