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The whole voxel-based everything-is-destructible concept sounds like it could be fun, but at this stage it kind of seems like another Guild Wars 2 level promising of more than they can fulfil. Hasn't almost every recent MMO promised that the worlds will grow and changed based on the players? Haven't all of them pretty much entirely failed to deliver?

I remain skeptical for now.

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Well, if anyone has any actual credibility to back up those claims, it'll be the ones who made the original Everquest and Star Wars Galaxies. I was never really excited at all for any of the big MMOs being developed in recent years. And with the latest ones like The Old Republic and Elder Scrolls Online it has reached flat out ridiculous levels of disconnect from the core things that differentiate MMOs from single player or regular multiplayer games. It's no wonder so many people stopped playing The Old Republic after they were done with their respective class quests.

Of course, they haven't actually talked about how most of the social aspects will work in EQN, but I have a feeling they'll have a healthier perspective on it.

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it has reached flat out ridiculous levels of disconnect from the core things that differentiate MMOs from single player or regular multiplayer games

I'm curious as to what you think that is. It sounds like you're saying that it's not a "real" MMO if it includes any sort of strong narrative component.

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I kind of like the fact that mobs will change their location based off how much they're attacked by players. It makes it a lot less like the same old MMO spawn point thing they've been doing since Ultima Online.

I mean, this could be good, if it's not a traditional-style MMO. We don't need another WoW clone.

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Everquest was the tits before SOE got ahold of it and diarrhea'd out like 15-20 expansions within a few years. Unless they've decided to steer closer to the original formula, I can't say I'll be too hyped up about EQN, and that totally sucks since classic EQ is easily one of my favorite games.

Buuut there's always hope. right?

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The whole voxel-based everything-is-destructible concept sounds like it could be fun, but at this stage it kind of seems like another Guild Wars 2 level promising of more than they can fulfil. Hasn't almost every recent MMO promised that the worlds will grow and changed based on the players? Haven't all of them pretty much entirely failed to deliver?

I remain skeptical for now.

This is where things get a little tricky...

This is the part of EQN that studio Storybricks is helping out on. Those orcs that sacked the farmer’s livelihood have been encroaching closer and closer to Qeynos proper. They’re thinking of setting up an ambush a few miles from the city gates, because it’s really quite easy to attack and rob travelers when guards are far away. If enough players alert the guards, perhaps they’ll actually step out from behind the high-walled gates and do something about it. Or if players take it upon themselves, they can start mounting an offensive against the orcs, beat them to a pulp enough to make them pack up and move. No more static spawns, always just milling about no matter how many of their brethren you kill. The mobs and NPCs of EQN will act and react to the actions of each other and the players. Villages will get abandoned, gnolls will rove about in bands, wildlife will migrate. Finally, an MMO’s world will actually react to its inhabitants. And it’s about time too.

  1. On Server A, a high population PvP server, players decide to alert the guards
  2. On Server B, a high population RP Server, players decide to alert the guards
  3. On Server C, a high population PvP server, decides to take it themselves
  4. On Server D, a high population RP Server, decides to take it themselves
  5. On Server E, a low population PvP server, decides to alert the guards.
  6. On Server F, a low population RP server, decides to alert the guards
  7. On Server G, a low population PvP server, players decide to take it themselves
  8. On Server H, a low population RP server, players decide to take it themselves

On server A most of the population doesn't care about the storyline, but some do, with the help of the guards they're able to repel the attack. Minor damage, if any.

On server B everyone really cares, and the threat, along with the help of the guards, is repelled easily without an issue. No damage.

On server C, the population signed up to handle it, but didn't show up. The threat makes it to the guards and the people who care about lore stand up and fight alongside the guards. Moderate damage, but the threat is repelled.

On server D, the majority of the population shows up. The threat never even makes it to the gates. Huge party.

On server E, people sign up to help, but ultimately they just don't have enough people around, online, who actually care enough to participate. They're able to substantially cut down the opposing forces. Ultimately the threat makes it to Queynos but the guards, though caught off guard, are able to stop the threat eventually. Major damage, but we can rebuild.

Server F they're able to repel most of the attack, but a small amount still falls on the unsuspecting guards. The guards defend the area, with the help of noble players are able to fully propel the attack. Moderate damage.

Server G, nearly no one shows up. The small handful of players who're interest in the fate of the server fight hard, and fail. The guards, caught completely off-guard, are obliterated and the orcs sack everything they can get their hands on. Incredible damage.

Server H, nearly everyone shows up. The moderate handful of players who're interested in the fate of the server fight hard, and do cut the threat down a quite a bit. They orcs eventually make it to the guards, who end up being able to repel the threat, but not without moderate damage.

Servers A, B, and D continue life as usual.

Servers F and H have to adjust to daily life; Some people take it with stride, others get fed up over participation and transfer to A, B, or D. As a result server F falls into a critically low server population.

Server D, with a strong active community, becomes the dominate RP server; 3 other RP servers become ghostlands.

Server E and G go to the forums and complain about how badly server population negatively effects their gameplay and how they can't be expected to pay to move to another server.

With all good intentions, in the end if one server gets more of a benefit than another, players will be UP SET. Everyone who pays money for an MMO expects that they deserve the best experience absolutely possible by their own definition. So while leaving the fate of the world up to the population seems like a good idea IN THEORY...in practice it can be very very difficult, and I'm yet to see someone pull it off.

Edited by Ramaniscence

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I'm curious as to what you think that is. It sounds like you're saying that it's not a "real" MMO if it includes any sort of strong narrative component.

I think that's part of a larger problem that's holding back video games, where people have a very narrow and stunted view on what defines a narrative or story in a game. In the case of MMOs, the entire point is that they are social games where you find people and do shit together. The world should be designed to encourage and enable those kinds of situations.

Instead, there's been an increased focus on shoehorning single player tropes into them, together with the convenience of playing the game without needing to interact with the other players around you. Since this is the playstyle most people end up gravitating towards due to the sheer convenience, it mostly ends up feeling you're playing in parallel with others rather than together with them, and that's a feeling I hate in multiplayer games. As the genre at large has entrenched etself in these paradigms, I've seen a lot more people starting to complain about this.

I think that's what most of the "rose-tinted" nostalgia over things like old WoW, Everquest or Star Wars Galaxies was about. In those kinds of arguments you will often see the points brought up that design, balance and mechanics-wise they were much worse, frustrating and unpolished. And this is largely true. But the point is that the social experience was just that much more powerful and special that they could find joy in the game despite these drawbacks. And that's where the actual narrative lies, not in thinly veiled fetch quests, scipted NPC encounters or fancy cutscenes. As these games are increasingly designed to play like second rate single player RPGs, this is what has been eroding from the genre.

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I think that's part of a larger problem that's holding back video games, where people have a very narrow and stunted view on what defines a narrative or story in a game. In the case of MMOs, the entire point is that they are social games where you find people and do shit together. The world should be designed to encourage and enable those kinds of situations.

Instead, there's been an increased focus on shoehorning single player tropes into them, together with the convenience of playing the game without needing to interact with the other players around you. Since this is the playstyle most people end up gravitating towards due to the sheer convenience, it mostly ends up feeling you're playing in parallel with others rather than together with them, and that's a feeling I hate in multiplayer games. As the genre at large has entrenched etself in these paradigms, I've seen a lot more people starting to complain about this.

I'm not so sure that MMOs have really been moving that direction though; sure - single player content is there, I think most players have the assumption at this stage that you can 'solo' your way to maximum level - that's pretty standard fare because of wow, and will continue to be for generations because of the games popularity. That being said, take a look at Guild Wars 2 - a good chunk of the world content is designed so you can't tackle it solo. Anywhere I go, I'm pushed into grouping and partying with dozens of strangers. Most of the content of that game is definitely designed with multiplayer in mind. 'Convenience' though - thats another topic all together, MMOs are casual friendly, and I'm so torn on this issue because I love a good challenge, and I feel like most MMOs are sincerely lacking on the challenge these days, on the flip-side, I have a fiancee who loves to experience these games with me, but just isn't as skilled as I am because she didn't invest years of her life into gaming like I did.

On the subject of EQN, I didn't watch the feed, but caught a lot of the news posts and video links - The visual style really surprised me, I don't really care much about destructible environments, and feel like its the WRONG gimmick to focus on. They're going to need a lot more than that to make me want to play, right now - my hype is on Wildstar.

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When I say convenience it mostly comes down to not needing to communicate with other players to get things done, which I think goes against the very spirit of the genre. It's mostly handled by automated systems these days. I haven't played GW2 but I know it also has one of those systems since it has become a staple at this point. One thing I do know for sure is that as these systems became the norm in WoW, in conjunction with limited grouping between servers, has led to the social interactions mostly consisting of fleeting encounters with random players you'll probably never see again (not to mention the kind of despicable behavior this can promote when you don't have to worry about your reputation). This feeds into the whole playing in parallel thing since often you don't even need to utter a single word to eachother while you're playing. All in all the social element has ended up feeling very hollow compared to when this was more up to the players themselves.

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The whole voxel-based everything-is-destructible concept sounds like it could be fun, but at this stage it kind of seems like another Guild Wars 2 level promising of more than they can fulfil. Hasn't almost every recent MMO promised that the worlds will grow and changed based on the players? Haven't all of them pretty much entirely failed to deliver?

I remain skeptical for now.

any game that gives players total control of the world will be broken quickly to the point of no fun for 95% of the players.

imagine if raid groups in WoW made the rules for the rest of the game world because they were most powerful. who would want to play that game

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Gecko, what you're describing is the neverending conflict between "hardcore" and "casual". It'd be great if every time you logged into an MMO, you could easily hook up with a group of friendly, competent people and go do some adventuring together. Unfortunately, that's simply not possible unless you're part of a large, well-organized guild -- and 90% of MMO players are not. The rest of the customer base has to deal with being unable to find a group, having group members who are simply bad at the game, and group members who are actively malicious trolls. If you want those people to be able to enjoy the game (and from a business perspective, you do), then you need things like soloable content, automated group finders, etc.

The alternative is a game like EVE Online, which is nigh-unplayable unless you're in a decent corp, and even then you're basically completely on your own as far as making your own fun. That's fine -- and the continued success of EVE certainly proves that there's a market for that -- but that doesn't mean that all MMOs should be like that.

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Gecko, what you're describing is the neverending conflict between "hardcore" and "casual". It'd be great if every time you logged into an MMO, you could easily hook up with a group of friendly, competent people and go do some adventuring together. Unfortunately, that's simply not possible unless you're part of a large, well-organized guild -- and 90% of MMO players are not. The rest of the customer base has to deal with being unable to find a group, having group members who are simply bad at the game, and group members who are actively malicious trolls. If you want those people to be able to enjoy the game (and from a business perspective, you do), then you need things like soloable content, automated group finders, etc.

Exactly. The automated systems in WoW have created a social disconnect, but imagine if the system wasn't in place at all: Some players would end up being more social, and talking to people, many others would end up unable to ever do anything. You can say "Well then maybe an MMO isn't for them, then", but then you run into the issue of turning away people who're generally interested in content and gameplay.

At the same time, there's nothing stopping those people who only do LFR and LFG in WoW from joining a real guild and doing dungeons and raids with peers other then themselves. It's their own conscious choice. Whether it's based in social stigma or general laziness the option to be social IS there. Some (many) people just do not choose it.

I don't believe it's as big of an issue with design so much as it is an issue with culture.

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Gecko, what you're describing is the neverending conflict between "hardcore" and "casual". It'd be great if every time you logged into an MMO, you could easily hook up with a group of friendly, competent people and go do some adventuring together. Unfortunately, that's simply not possible unless you're part of a large, well-organized guild -- and 90% of MMO players are not. The rest of the customer base has to deal with being unable to find a group, having group members who are simply bad at the game, and group members who are actively malicious trolls. If you want those people to be able to enjoy the game (and from a business perspective, you do), then you need things like soloable content, automated group finders, etc.

The alternative is a game like EVE Online, which is nigh-unplayable unless you're in a decent corp, and even then you're basically completely on your own as far as making your own fun. That's fine -- and the continued success of EVE certainly proves that there's a market for that -- but that doesn't mean that all MMOs should be like that.

Well, I don't quite see it as hardcore vs casual. To me, that would be more about players with entitlement issues who do want the content to be only reachable by the extremly dedicated, and I don't share those views at all.

It's true there were some pretty big issues with getting groups for less current dungeons or group quests before the LFG tools were implemented. But I think the solutions implemented have been merely band-aid on what is fundamentally flawed design. The whole "stepping stone" design of leveling throug a ton of zones and dungeons in the world and then never having any reason to visit them again were starting to show its problems already during The Burning Crusade, with old zones, dungeons and raids turning into uninhabited wastelands. And it was made even worse by the instant teleportation to instances, making people flock to the cities. They solved the old dungeons never being visited, but that was harshly at the expense of the world itself. I think it really needs to be designed in such a way that there should be a meaningful way for players to be out in the world and play with eachother, regardless of what level they are.

I also believe that raiding/dungeoncrawling has become way too much of a dogma for the genre. Perhaps if there were enough other things to do in the world, it wouldn't be such a huge bummer if you couldn't instantly assemble a random raid team at any time of the day. I've always felt kind of herded towards this playstyle without ever having much passion for it.

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I don't believe it's as big of an issue with design so much as it is an issue with culture.

Pretty much this exactly. The tools for online communication have always been there, and only seem to get more robust with each iteration of mmo. I feel like the playerbase has changed tremendously because of wow and its success. The average MMO player is *completely* different then who he/she might have been many, many years ago.

It's true there were some pretty big issues with getting groups for less current dungeons or group quests before the LFG tools were implemented. But I think the solutions implemented have been merely band-aid on what is fundamentally flawed design. The whole "stepping stone" design of leveling throug a ton of zones and dungeons in the world and then never having any reason to visit them again were starting to show its problems already during The Burning Crusade, with old zones, dungeons and raids turning into uninhabited wastelands. And it was made even worse by the instant teleportation to instances, making people flock to the cities. They solved the old dungeons never being visited, but that was harshly at the expense of the world itself. I think it really needs to be designed in such a way that there should be a meaningful way for players to be out in the world and play with eachother, regardless of what level they are.

Gecko - for what its worth, a LOT of the problems I see you describing GW2 did a pretty admirable job of fixing, it plays different then just about any mmo on the market - I humbly suggest you give it a try. That being said - I couldn't bring myself to play the game for that long - It gets old and there's no sense of progression. I always hated having 35+ skills in wow until I was stuck with 5 or 6 in Guild Wars 2 for the entire game.

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I also believe that raiding/dungeoncrawling has become way too much of a dogma for the genre. Perhaps if there were enough other things to do in the world, it wouldn't be such a huge bummer if you couldn't instantly assemble a random raid team at any time of the day. I've always felt kind of herded towards this playstyle without ever having much passion for it.

This I completely agree with. Some of my fondest memories of EQ1 were because of the exploration/wonder factor, and not knowing exactly what you would find beyond the next bend. No in game maps. Difficulty was there (death's exp penalty, items dying on your corpse). I'm not saying it was perfect, but it had some qualities that made it memorable.

I for one would love to have an MMO that has a completely non-violent progression path. Usually Crafting seems to be the only thing brought up but I wish there was an alternate to that that allowed for progression in a similar sense to the "killing" path that most MMO's take. Think about it, is there an MMO out there that dosen't have killing on a massive scale?

... (maybe Eve Online? i'm not familiar with it)

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Vanguard had diplomacy, but that was more or less a card minigame you played with NPCs to complete quests with. I never got to play Star Wars Galaxies, but I know a lot of people felt perfectly content playing shopkeeper/merchant characters.

I think these things have mostly been hurt by the power fantasy notion of you being the hero, and thinking this is the only way to make the game fun and exciting. Not to mention how much more futile it is to maintain such a suspense of disbelief when everyone else around you brought the severed head of that big nasty dragon.

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[tangent]

Gecko - for what its worth, a LOT of the problems I see you describing GW2 did a pretty admirable job of fixing, it plays different then just about any mmo on the market - I humbly suggest you give it a try. That being said - I couldn't bring myself to play the game for that long - It gets old and there's no sense of progression. I always hated having 35+ skills in wow until I was stuck with 5 or 6 in Guild Wars 2 for the entire game.

Seeing as half of your bar skills are bound to the weapon you're using, you really need to have most of your class's arsenal on hand to get past that feeling.

With my ranger (first character and main) I played through most of the open world content with shortbow/longbow with some greatsword on the side; while this was a perfectly functionable loadout, I wasn't really having fun with the combat until I added [shortsword, dagger/warhorn/torch] and [axe, axe] loadouts; having all of those extra skills available for switching up relieved a lot of the tedium I was experiencing with combat. There may be an "optimal" loadout for maximum DPS, but using that loadout all the time is boring as hell.

In addition to this, coming up the pipeline for future combat updates, ANet is planning on adding additional (utility?) skills for sideways progression.

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I think it really needs to be designed in such a way that there should be a meaningful way for players to be out in the world and play with eachother, regardless of what level they are.

That sounds like something I could get behind, but how would you accomplish it? I suppose that you could create zones with content suitable for every level (eg, level 10 is "scout the location of this enemy camp", level 20 is "take out enemy sentries in preparation for the main attack", level 30 is "attack the camp proper and destroy their supplies", level 40 is "break into the camp and kill the enemy leaders", etc) but then you just have people of all levels playing side by side without really interacting (level 10s just care about finding the place, level 20s only care about killing sentries, level 40s ignore everything except the leaders, etc). That would solve the problem of the world feeling "empty", but wouldn't do much toward making the gameplay itself more social.

I also believe that raiding/dungeoncrawling has become way too much of a dogma for the genre. Perhaps if there were enough other things to do in the world, it wouldn't be such a huge bummer if you couldn't instantly assemble a random raid team at any time of the day. I've always felt kind of herded towards this playstyle without ever having much passion for it.

Well, the "dungeons and raids" style gameplay has more or less become synonymous with MMOs. When you talk about playing an MMO, that's what people expect until it's said otherwise. The fact that it's a genre convention doesn't make it bad (no more so than having little to do besides shoot at bad guys in an FPS is bad), it just means that you may not be interested in a traditional MMO. Something like EVE Online -- which essentially drops you in a virtual world and says "okay, go to it" and lets you do everything from mining raw materials, trading goods, and building weapons or ships to becoming a pirate, joining an army, or just blowing up anything you can get away with -- might be more of the experience you're looking for. Hell, it even sounds like you're talking about something akin to Second Life, which is definitely massively multiplayer, very social, and certainly has no lack of things to do.

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Well, the "dungeons and raids" style gameplay has more or less become synonymous with MMOs. When you talk about playing an MMO, that's what people expect until it's said otherwise.

This is not a convention with MMOs so much as it is a convention of RPGs. You start off weak and inexperienced, and through quests you gain experience and equipment that makes your character gradually feel stronger. You adventure, you team up and explore dungeons, and you split the spoils of the adventure.

Since it would be (nearly) impossible to have that character evolve infinitely on a limited time scale it's generally accepted than an MMO needs some kind of "end game." A way for characters to become stronger without needing to level or gain more experience. Early MMOs such as Ultima Online did not have this, while some of the community was fine with traditional role playing and adventure, even these things had diminishing returns.

Incremental gear levels passed the base max level is how most current MMOs achieve this. Whether it be maxing crafting and learning rare recipes, PvP, or raids. No matter what choice(s) an MMO chooses all of these need to have a certain expectation of challenge and/or RNG in order to make sure the player doesn't increase in power too quickly and run out of incentives to keep playing. RNG is the more annoy choice, but when it comes to things like crafting it's difficult to create an interesting, challenging endgame that does no require any kind of combat and doesn't have too much RNG but still has some sort of skill element that gets increasingly easier/more possible as the player increases their power.

Not only are raids the easy answer, they're the logical answer from a genre (again RPG, not MMO) stand point.

With that said:

There are many things WoW does not do great. Server community and crafting are some of the biggest (world PvP is pretty big on that list right now too). I think any MMO that comes out will have to deal with these first and foremost, but also can't ignore an interesting end game.

I also agree with the Guild Wars 2 argument and how it deals with much of this...perhaps a full-fledged Guild Wars MMO....

Edited by Ramaniscence

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Seeing as half of your bar skills are bound to the weapon you're using, you really need to have most of your class's arsenal on hand to get past that feeling.

With my ranger (first character and main) I played through most of the open world content with shortbow/longbow with some greatsword on the side; while this was a perfectly functionable loadout, I wasn't really having fun with the combat until I added [shortsword, dagger/warhorn/torch] and [axe, axe] loadouts; having all of those extra skills available for switching up relieved a lot of the tedium I was experiencing with combat. There may be an "optimal" loadout for maximum DPS, but using that loadout all the time is boring as hell.

In addition to this, coming up the pipeline for future combat updates, ANet is planning on adding additional (utility?) skills for sideways progression.

Not to derail the thread or anything, but yea - I can totally see where your coming from, and if you want to explore all the weapon paths, there is a lot of skills to dabble with - my main beef (and this is just me, I'm kinda picky about this sorta stuff I guess) is that I really like to focus on a specific type of weapon. Each weapon in GW2 is usually 'better' at a given style of play than another one, this really bothered me, because if I wanted to play a Knight that specialized in the Great Sword, I didn't really get to choose how I wanted to play my character, I just got.. 5 abilities and played with those 5 no matter what. I much preferred the original Guild Wars way of doing abilities, let me choose my weapon, and give me a wide assortment of abilities to choose from so that I can customize my playstyle the way I'd like. You could do crazy builds and have a lot of fun with the system. but again, this is just my beef :) If they ever release an expansion that introduces more weapon skills and a way to choose between them, I will be back in a heartbeat :)

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