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Thread: An Analogy (10/15)

  1. #21
    Nanaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BorusWintersong View Post
    The real issue with MMOs: No one seems to care about anything other than fantasy!
    I fully disagree with this statement, the problem with sci-fi MMORPGs is not their setting, it is the fact that most of them that have been made so far are complete junk, for a myriad of reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oberon View Post
    These two complaints are juxtaposed, which is funny, one one hand, the game is too hard, on the other hand it was so easy that all the content has been seen too quickly. But the problem is that word gets out that secret world isnt right for new players, and growth effectively shuts down. Layoffs happen, expected new content schedule slows to a trickle, and the people in charge view it as a failure despite 200 thousand people enjoying the crap out of a new innovative game.
    I disagree with this, what an MMORPG needs to be considered successful is a growing playerbase, nothing more, nothing less. Eve Online is an indicative factor of that, CCP only started with only a few thousand subscribers and built their way to 300k over a ten-year period, and it is considered one of the few successful MMORPGs out there. Every new MMORPG, however, tends to sport huge numbers of retail sales usually in the one million plus range, then drop a vast majority of their subscribers within the first few months of the game. A few really bad ones start off low and their numbers plummet from there until they are shut down or, more than likely, end up in purgatory where the servers are kept on, but updates are few and far between, if at all.

    While The Secret Worlds did start off with a low subscription base, it really remains to be seen weither it ends up being another Eve Online, or another Tabula Rasa. Given Funcom's track record of leaving underperforming MMORPGs with a skeleton crew and moving on to developing a new MMORPG, though, I am betting on the latter.

  2. #22
    Paprika's Avatar
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    Hehe, the booby analogy works a treat !

    Having played waaaay too many MMO's over the years, the problem (IMHO) is that too much reliance is placed on the beta as a way of enticing fans in. Just as Woody says once you've seen it for free you don't always want to pay up to see it again.

    One of my fave's at the moment is Tera, which unfortunately is fading faster than any would like. Some could blame the playstyle, some the Elin controversy, others the lack of development from beta. The weirdest excuse from some I've known is that they won't play it because the community is too small.......
    Infamy, Infamy, they've all got it in for me !

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Nanaki View Post
    I fully disagree with this statement, the problem with sci-fi MMORPGs is not their setting, it is the fact that most of them that have been made so far are complete junk, for a myriad of reasons.
    First: note I personally care for anything BUT fantasy (these days) but it seems that the mass market only cares for Fantasy.

    You bring an interesting nitpick of mine, too. You assume if it's not Fantasy it must be sci-fi! What about Super Heroes? Or horror?

    City of Heroes was an excellent MMO that always had a rather small audience and just got canned. The game in question here, The Secret World, is a horror title and follows the disappointment that was Hellgate London.

    Sci-Fi seems relatively well represented, with the likes of Star Trek Online, TOR and Eve Online doing rather well. It seems to be a fallback genre, but still one that canít seem to catch up with the fantasy audience.

    I think large part is that the expected slowness of fantasy fits perfectly with the MMO default design. With most other genres you either expect a way faster experience than the MMO template allows for, or the mass population actually gets in the way of you feeling like a real protagonist.

    I'm not saying I have the answer, I'm sure the complexities are more than that, but truth be told, we still have to see a non-fantasy MMO that can challenge the MMO sub numbers. It's not due to game quality. TOR was the closest and it still lags behind what you would expect from its lineage in both, the geek culture and the video game culture.

    I disagree with this, what an MMORPG needs to be considered successful is a growing playerbase, nothing more, nothing less.
    If that was what it took, the only MMO that would be considered a success would be WoW. Every MMO starts large and starts slowly shrinking, some faster than others. A MMO is successful as long as it is profitable, this can be done with or without a growing player base. For how long it can last depend on how slowly do you bleed the players.

    BTW: Tabula Rasa was not exactly a failure. It was not the expected hit, but it was canned due to NCSoft's inner-issues. It's not the first or last MMO, but they have canned many for very strange reasons. Tabula Rasa was victim of some inner power struggle and the illegal firing of Richard Garriot. He was an owner of the IP and they had to shut the thing down as part of his dismissal.

  4. #24
    the Diligent Realmreaver's Avatar
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    I look at it like this. WoW came at the right time. Really. That's it. Now here's the kicker. Three things KEEPS people playing.

    The Community, The Investment of Character and Upkeep.

    It's fine and dandy that the game rocks. But it's the aftermath you gotta look out for. if you gotta go now what? Your boned. You need a community to feel like your part of something. You need things earned so your char becomes an investment. You need to keep shelling out content quickly at least at first as a means to keep the momentum going.

    WoW succeeded because it is good. It's keeps succeeding because of it's investments into the holy three of MMos. Prob now is pet and mounts are getting so numerable that future pets and mounts are going to lose value thus cheapen the second of the three. Tying Archeology with game mechanics would give a need avenue for sence of acomplishment. Or maybe justa focus of tying professions into game play moreso itself.

    Paprika? Boobies is not or Conan would be far more awesome. Mind you I am an adult and I do enjoy seeing even pixalted boobs however not enough physics was applied to give them a reason to look more than three minutes tops. Sex sells to a point. Cross that it's just boring.
    [ Signture Rules: maxwidth 450 pixels. Max image size 20K. ]

  5. #25
    Nanaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BorusWintersong View Post
    You bring an interesting nitpick of mine, too. You assume if it's not Fantasy it must be sci-fi! What about Super Heroes? Or horror?
    An Excellent point, and yes, I do agree with you. In regards to City of Heroes, that was actually a bit of a shocker even to me and I have been scratching my head over it. I did hear a rumor that makes a bit of sense, that when NCSoft bought City of Heroes from Cryptic, they only were able to get a a license for the engine, and that license was nearing its expiration date and Cryptic was being unreasonable at the negotiating table, due to it being competition with their current superhero game, Champions Online.

    It's not due to game quality. TOR was the closest and it still lags behind what you would expect from its lineage in both, the geek culture and the video game culture.
    My original point was that quality alone a game does not make, likewise, innovation alone a game does not make either. A truly successful game needs that combination of quality and innovation, which is extremely difficult to pull off because innovation tends to also be untested, you have no idea if an innovation in question ends up being a success or a flop, likewise, that does not even go into the technical hurdles of successfully implimenting that innovation. It also has to be the kind of innovation that people want, and not something only a small niche of people care about at all.

    Developers make WoW clones for a reason, a lot of it is that it is familiar to them and they know there would be no hidden technical or design gremlins that could suprise them mid-development. It is the safe way to develop, but it is also not enough.

    SWTOR is not doing well because, it might be high quality, but it lacks on the innovation front, with gameplay completely plays it safe. Sure, the dialogue wheel, voiceacting and moral choice system are somewhat new to MMORPGs even if they have been in Bioware games since Mass Effect, but they are more distractions tacked on to the side rather than any radical change to the core experiance. In essence, its perfect proof that no matter how hard you try or how well you do, you simply cannot out-WoW WoW.

    BTW: Tabula Rasa was not exactly a failure.
    I was there through the whole thing and knew people inside, the power struggles were a direct cause for the rest of the game being bad, especially with a lot of bad design making it into the game and player feedback was virtually ignored, the game itself was still bad. The subscription numbers only started off at 200K and plummeted from there, I was among those who saw the writing on the wall and abandoned ship six months in, despite being one who bought a collector's edition.

    Finally, I disagree with your assumption that every MMORPG starts off large and shrinks over time. There are, and have always been, MMORPGs that bucked that trend and those tend to be the pinnacle examples of successful games, Everquest, World of Warcraft and Eve Online are among those. Check the numbers on MMOData, they are quite revealing.

  6. #26
    First off, Woody, I think you're awesome. Any disagreement I have with your view on this is purely that, disagreement, and nothing more. You're all thumbs up in my book, man.

    That said, I was in the Beta for Secret World and scrimped and saved to afford the game despite being unemployed at the time. It was worth every single penny. The difference between the Beta and the Live Release is, at this point, like night and day. They did not show us 'too much' content in the Beta, they actually only showed us about half the story elements and set pieces. Entire mission chains were missing from the beta, and in many cases, they removed or edited cutscenes to hide story content from us beta players.

    Having played both beta and live, I firmly believe that the biggest problem is, honestly, new players expecting to compare a new MMO launch with one of the existing MMOs already on the market. SW:TOR, WoW, CoH(while it's still around. *sigh*), etc. The 'youngest' of those I listed, SW:TOR, has nearly a year under its belt and has improved significantly since launch. The other two have been around for most of the past decade. That's a lot of years to spit-shine and polish with.

    You see, the thing with an MMO is...the longer it runs? The longer development time it also has. Think in the Way Back Machine, all the way back to WoW's release. Now compare it to WoW as it stands today. It's a very different game, with a lot more polish and fine-tuning.

    I think if TSW is given the same chance to develop over the same number of years that the big blockbuster MMO titles and mainstays have had, you'll all be very pleasantly surprised at what the game is capable of. If you want to see what those of us die hard TSW fans are hypin' over, there is a three day trial over at www.thesecretworld.com that I think is worth checking out. And if you complete thirty missions(which is NOT hard to do), you unlock two more days! I just think that's nifty. I hope you--and others--will give the game a solid try, now that we've had three content updates since release and the game is starting to show more polish. I hope you, too, will find it nifty.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by wooshell View Post
    What current game producers call "beta" has now become a complete farce. They should rename it to "preview" or "advertising phase". There are no tests done anymore, no bug reports filed.. it's all full of kiddies who want a free early access to the game. How should this even work, with 500.000 "beta participants". 5000 might be ok for a beta phase that's supposed to be useful.
    Sure, if people can play the game in the "beta" phase for free, why should they pay afterwards.. you've caught that problem nicely.
    Well said. I remember back when wow came out with it's first expac, we were all chomping at the bit to be invited to the beta...I was the lucky one (note ONE) of all my friends that got an invite. You can bet there were like 30 people at my house the next weekend all clamouring behind my computer chair to get a glimpse. Beta invites were so few and far between, even if you didn't get an invite...if you knew someone who had gotten in you considered yourself lucky.

    Now it's like...oh goody, another beta invite. whoopty sh*t.

    Cept for the beta keys Woody hands out. Those still rock *virtual hugs*

  8. #28
    Huh, this topic seems lively. I'm going to indulge myself and explain why Poke'mon would be the best MMO ever.

    1) Name recognition. The same thing every Star Wars game lives on, people have herd of it and the name alone attracts an audience. This is also poison for the game because you have a standard to live up to. Fortunately the Poke'mon standard isn't that high of a bar to aspire to. As long as you can make it look mostly like any of the previous pokemon titles people should accept your work.

    2) Engaging game mechanics. Rock, paper, sizzors, shotgun. Now add another 16 categories to the kids game of who beats who and you've got poke'mon. PvP is small and easily controlled. Better yet, its consentual and people gamble with it as a world standard. No worrying about griefers. Everybody has reasons to either do it, or easily avoid it. There is even a mechanic for have a continual "best of the best" tournament everybody can participate in.

    3) Leveling Progression: Not only can you go from level 1 to 100 getting more powerful along the way...you can do it for every pet in the game. Better, by using rare and powerful items you can make your Squirttle different than every other squirtle in the game. Maybe different enough to get two Squirttles? Seriously, a little customization goes a long way here. Grinding never felt so easy.

    4) World back story: Team Rocket! Nameless badguys that appear for no good reason but act as a hook to tear people away from the grinding for a while. Honestly you don't need quests in this game, but its a good way to reward people for not grinding for a while. Make 80% of the quests repeatable after a few days and plan new quest releases for every 3 months.

    5) Mini-games! Pokemon breading, arcades (with prizes), beauty contests (for pokemon...or players. Whatever.), slot machines, gambling, lotteries, growing flowers, farming, picking weeds, photo contests, races. Pokemon has had a wide variety of side-games that gave you benifits but were never required for success. Most of the mini-games were good enough that you played them for a while just because. Every mini-game extends the life of the main game. Make the mini-games good enough and people will subscribe just to play them.

    6) Trading: it gives players a reason to interact and some people will play just to do this. Why is it so satisfying to be a broker in a virtual market?

    7) End-game: The funny thing is that the end-game for pokemon is a tournament that depends on....you. It doesn't depend on 10, 14, 24, 56 people showing up to defeat a whole castle full of goons. I suppose you could invent group and raid content for poke'mon, but really why? Poke'mon at its very heart is a pvp game with individual battles (and a strong reason for 2x2 and 3x3 team battles). Even if you manage to do everything in poke'mon you'll still have the big league titles to battle over. Give each and every league/title a handicap (like lava battles, sea battles, small battle field, ect) and you won't have one guy with ever title (unless he's godly, and lucky).

    Too bad Nintendo is alergic to the internet, eh?

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Rip View Post
    I was really looking forward to TSW until I played in the beta. That quickly killed any desire I had to play the game. I expect betas to be unpolished and buggy, they are betas after all, and so I don't have a problem with that. What I did have a problem with was expository walls of text delivered through lengthy animations that were poorly written and poorly voiced. Especially in comparison to other games I was playing at the time such as WOW, SWTOR, and DCUO. I quickly came to dread talking to NPCs and if it got better later in the game I'll never know because I wasn't willing to spend the money just to find out.
    This sort of boggles my mind.
    I eagerly awaited SWTOR and enjoyed playing through the game, listening to every voice scene, and other than a few exceptions, they really started to blur. Every new location was another imperial officer with basically the exact same words. Sure I could make conversation choices, but maybe 1 in 4 of these made even the slightest difference, and even then it was just a different line of text or a couple more credits of reward. But still, fully voiced over quests was a lot of fun, and I looked at it as the best feature of SWTOR.

    Then I played Secret world, and realized that you could have voice acting that was less bland. The characters really had a good feel to them, and they were memorable. You weren't just doing quests in the third quest hub, you were working for that crazy redneck in the junkyard, or the hippy nut in the forest. There are flaws, there are no selectable parts to the quest, and the protagonist does not talk, which is disappointing, but I could never see going back to SWTOR quality voice acting and writing after playing secret world.

    There is also the matter of the puzzle type investigation quests, and the fact that figuring them out is damn fun.

  10. #30
    Nanaki's Avatar
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    Well, there is the whole "Different strokes for different folks" angle, while I, personally, do see story as an extremely important part of any game, its also one of those things that are very difficult to get right. I honestly am not a fan of Bioware, because their stories taste a little too pre-packaged and bland, even if they are excellently presented. But, I have never seen an MMORPG story done right, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact you cannot approach MMORPG storytelling like you approach storytelling in singleplayer games, and a lot of that is due to different emphasis. MMORPGs, I feel, need a greater emphasis on world-building and almost any attempt to build characters or a coherant story is not likely to have as significant an impact due to the sandbox nature of MMORPGs.

    There is also the whole consistancy thing. Games Workshop might have a lot of faults, but one thing I do not fault them for is keeping a very tight leash on their IP, because most writers really do not do their research nor give a damn about internal consistancy within the franchise, which results in some horrible plotholes or even outright contradictions within the franchise, something almost every large franchise has suffered from.

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