Every MMO needs a goal. Whether all the drones at the screens realize it or not there is a status MMOs want and need to achieve. WoW redefined this as EQ did before. People do not exclaim “it’s better than EverQuest!” or “why are you still even on that EQ? This biznatch is l337!” WoW has so dominated the market that the only purpose today is for a MMO to be the anti-WoW… by being just like it.
Every time a new MMO is announced speculation begins, hearts beat rapidly as players wonder- could the day have come? Is it the chosen one? Shall we truly be raised to a greater plane of existence? Can we even truly give up all we have for this perfect glory? Will there be free cheese? Is it… THE WOW KILLER! From HG:L to Tabula Rasa, LotRO to CoH, and even most recently AoC to WAR all these are not proclaimed so much as their own game but an anti-WoW. And nearly half of them are either clones or at least built from the same template as the dreaded favorite! Sure each has their own brand and flavor, but is that really what they are focusing on?
It is every game for itself against the big guy nowadays. Sometimes this means looking just like him. Many of them will get their own posse or gang supporting them, but all they are is more of the same and how could they, even if they merged together, really beat WoW’s armies by offering them more of the same?
I think what they fail to realize is that instead of trying to market their games as similar to WoW because, well, obviously if they like WoW they will like your game if it is like it. This could very well be true, they very well may like it. They may even try it. But the real breaker is… if it is just the same gameplay style what NEW feature, content, or look will make them give up their hours, no days or months of time dedicated to WoW. Maybe some people like Tolkien’s lore better than that of Warcraft. Maybe they like sci-fi better or are just desperate for anything besides the same old orcs and elves. Very little really seems to be different between the number of MMOs pumped out today than their specific landscapes and world settings.
The most dynamically new feature I can think of in a MMO since WoW is outright gory-goodness of AoC. What has everyone else done with their lives? (Feel free to mention some of your favs.) I would like to see developers think past quick money making clones that can maintain a decent following but innovate nothing. Of course often they do not because it is an even greater risk to ask the masses to give up their time dedicated to WoW not even for something they know they like on a different world, but something totally new and foreign to them.
This is what has pushed me from MMOs in general and back to some single player games. Well, that and the other flaws I see with MMOs. There is also the issue of college, work, family, a girlfriend, friends, and more college to keep me from playing more of the same game endlessly instead of keeping up to snuff with the latest games… Somewhere along the line I feel like I’ve kinda lost my freedom in the matter…
It looks like the only MMO that will pull me from the single-player and Valve online shooters (KZ2/LittleBigPlanet are quiet nice too) world could be Darkfall Online (.com, check it out), if it ever releases here in America properly... Anyway. Innovation is rare and hard to find in a world where the evil WoW still needs slaying, how long till something new replaces it? At least Blizzard is a kind master…
O when the revolution comes… And by that I mean Diablo 3. Ha.
PS: Check out this guy, NegGamer mentioned him in a post and I'd like to do the same, he is rather quiet brilliant! He has some posts of animations which are good but I'm talking about his game design ones, obviously. Hopefully I'll stop complaining about MMOs after this and will move onto more interesting things like this guy has.
An older entry I made a while back, revised and edited a bit just for your loving eyes! Pretty good I think. MMOs tend to make me as sad about gaming as they make me addicted to their systems. I don't know why stupid cliches or puns make me laugh, all well.
MMO killed the RPG Star.
Sorry to be lame, but it is true. Action/adventure games kinda started it with their lame lack of choices, FPS surely don’t give you much room to grow (except genre mixers like Mass Effect), and RTS have made efforts to add RPG elements, but please. MMORPGs should be MMOAAG, for Massive Multiplayer Online Action Adventure Games. Because that is all they are. Sure you get some character design as far as looks are, sure you can get different kinds of armor and weapons, you can choose what spells or skills to use… but how often is there any role playing involved?
“Why yes n00bkilzer304, let us unite against these evil monsters for a quest!”
“Ok, which dialogue option should I choose?”
“It doesn’t matter! Both result in the same thing.”
“Great! I was afraid there might be consequences for my choices, and I might not be able to get everything possible the game for a single character!”
These quotes can be used as good points.
1. Leet names. They kill any real interaction. While some may be comical, they really serve no purpose and are just plain annoying. Personal feelings aside, a name is a link between people, it gives us something to tag people with for remembrance and future reference. Numbers and statements are not names, and have nothing to do with roleplaying. I may appreciate your skillz at pwning teh n00bs, but since I'm asking you to help me so something, I hope you don’t turn into one of them on me.
2. Imaginary options. Trick choices. No real differences exist. Maybe some MMOs do have some that are real (I am sure I’ll get some listed in comments) but hopefully it will be different beyond “either mob A or B spawns, or you get a slightly different text response from the quest/reward giver with the same reward.” I know that making players think they have more options , choices, and control than they do is a trick of the trade, but the lack of ANY beyond rolling either Alliance or Horde, Luxon/Kurz(only guild/AvA differences) seems rather weak to me.
3. Same endings. Mostly covered in last point, there are no pluses or minuses for doing something one way, or another. There might be an option to, but the only difference is the 5 minutes you take to do it. No alignment or reputation changes, no different skills, no lost/gained quest (strings), no new enemies/allies gained, no difference.
4. Games like rl? LOL! A touchy subject to some: the existence of consequences. While some “winning doesn’t matter” blah blah blahs try to keep us from “getting hurt” by what is actually the (dreaded) real world, it is a must. What is the point of having monsters if they can’t kill you? Sure, they might keep you under your covers, but it is either all or nothing. Sorry, dying hurts, and sucking at games does too. Serious (hardxcore?) gamers should not have to cater to people who want to be able to suck at a game and still pass. Getting good takes time, practice and learning. And help for others goes a long way (this is the part when all the lee7ists agreeing with me bow their heads in shame). When I don’t do well, guess what, I should not be rewarded, why else would it matter when I do good (you bloody communist!), and why should I even try? If nothing else, I want my friggin’ banana sticker!!! (aka trophy/points)
I know a lot of people don’t like roleplaying and will mock me, but that is where we get our roots for this genre and they are still called MMORPGs. Bioware claims to be able to revolutionize this with The Old Republic, and I hold a lot of respect for them and their work, but that is a huge claim. Even if they pull off an amazing story, how much ACTUAL freedom will they allow for? How much real online roleplaying? I am not really calling for “acting out character dialogue” though, but rather the ability to create a character that I can develop over time in ways beyond combat (and perhaps crafting) alone. The only roles I see acted out are those of class, and even that is often rather poorly done. I’m not even necessarily calling for a “Sir Xodius, please grand Lord Jethor thine ears, for he wishes to parley!” type of gameplay, it would just be nice to be able to interact with people on an in-game created world with a game-made character to work together as a team in this world as if we were in said world, not my living room and your parent’s basement. Or grandparents. Or your own.
Basically have fun in WoW, I’ll be waiting for Dragon Age where my actions actually matter.
Well, since I like a lot of different site and their communities, I am going to use my blogspot blog as my main and either link to that whenever I make an entry or just copy that mess over to each of my community bloods, woot woot!
My blog is: http://zanthoxtwinkletoes.blogspot.com/
And I am actually making myself get to this because I was posted on a site for the first time. It was for a review of Left 4 Dead, I hope to continue writing for these guys. Here is my review (check this mess out!): http://reviews.revolve21.com/2009/04/review-left-4-dead.html