Video Games The Next Step in MMOs (An Article by Wert)

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by wertitis, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. wertitis

    wertitis Proud Mary keep on burnin'

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    It seems to me that while WoW continues to enjoy its rampant success for the 'nth year in a row, it's flavor and style are becoming stagnant. MMOs are routinely accepted to be major cash cows, though very few find enough success to last more than a year or two. Part of this is because 90% of MMOs attempt to copy/pasta the WoW engine, and due to a variety of factors, never quite pull it off. The other part is mainly due to how old and enfeebled the WoW engine really is. To a point, WoW's playstyle really began when Everquest first hit the market. Those of us who remember (sometimes fondly) that polygonal, grindfest horror will note that it consisted of the basic 1) target an enemy, 2) autoattack enemy, 3) spam skills until said enemy is dead. Wow took this medium, stapled on a quests system and eventually added a dual faction PvP to create the monster that is World of Warcraft, today. The only other notable MMO which greatly differs from the WoW formula and found wild success was Eve Online, the sci-fi space conquest MMO.

    However, a new set of games poised on the horizon are offering MMO players something new and exciting; new systems of gameplay which seek to offer a more rich and compelling MMO experience. They are said to offer, not only more compelling storylines, plots and engaging worlds, but stand to redefine the MMO paradigm by changing what we think an MMO should play like.

    At the forefront of these next gen "WoW Assassins" is the startlingly intriguing Guild Wars 2. While most seem to have at least heard of Guild Wars 1, the series met with only moderate success compared to Blizzard's money making monster. Their next installment looks to not only dethrone WoW, but to bury it alive. Given the team backing it up, the features they claim it will have, and the redefined combat system (which sounds brilliantly amazing), Guild Wars 2 might perform where others have failed. Given that their goal is not to emulate World of Warcraft, but to redefine the entire genre, it stands to reason GW2 may be a runaway hit. Here's a nifty Top 10 Big Reasons and Top 10 Little Reasons that may just change the way you think about the Guild Wars Franchise, and highlight why I think this has the strong potential be the first, true WoW killer ever released.

    Star Wars: The Old Republic also seems to be a game that has a lot of hype behind it. Given the gameplay, style and temper, not to mention the starwars license, SW:TOR might also become a shining beacon of MMOs. Bioware, the guys behind Bioshock and Mass Effect, are heading up this project and it seems they want to create an epic and grand MMO the likes of which have never been experienced before. There's a lot they want to do, and there's some amazing ideas they seek to incorporate into an MMO that has never been seen before. However, given the potential here, there are a few issues which may interfere, and ultimately halt, SW:TOR's success. First, it's a Star Wars game. Not that I have any thing against Star Wars, but the last decade has been really bad for Star Wars fans. Both the movies and the games to come out from Lucas Arts have been exceptionally terrible, floating on little more than the license for success. Star Wars fans will purchase anything, as is evidenced by the lack of quality from the Star Wars franchise, and the staggering amount of money George Lucas continues to make from all the crap he pushes through the pipeline. It seems that only when other companies, keeping the laziness that is Lucas Arts to a minimum, get their hands on licenses, that really neat Star Wars themed goods become available. Take for example Lego, and their multi-thousand piece Millennium Falcon and Deathstar Sets, or their lego Star Wars games (which weren't BAD, but they weren't very good either). Bioware may be what's necessary to give SW:TOR the push to become a great MMO, and I would place my trust in them almost implicitly, simply because of my love for that company and their products, if not for Jeff Hickman being hired on as executive producer. Hickman drove Warhammer Online into the dirt, filtering nothing from EA execs and overextending the programmers and testers. Given the amazing "success" of Warhammer Online, and Star War's previous history of sucking, I can't see Hickman helping to make this MMO succeed. I could be proven wrong (I would like to be proven wrong; SW:TOR is not without its merits, as is shown by the video series by Logun24x7), but past experience speaks louder than intuition.

    There's appears to also be a new MMO from the Warhammer Universe in the works, though as of this posting I know very little about it. Starcraft and Warcraft pulled quite a bit from WarHammer Lore, but it seems that Warhammer's execution as of late has been abysmal. Since most PC games with the Warhammer label aren't worth the plastic they're printed on, I am not very excited about this particular MMO. The likelihood of it being a game changer is rather low. You can catch the trailer for it here.

    Then, there comes a new contender from the guys who brought us May Quest called Dragon Nest. This one is currently in open Beta, free of charge, and appears to take notes from LOTR:O and GW2, offering a dynamic, and more importantly fun, combat system with the free to play experience. I don't expect this to have much more success in N. America aside from the May Quest and overseas crowd due to the highly stylized anime graphics and fairly linear play system. Still, this could be a nice way to pass the time if you're looking to step away from the WoW style of MMO until GW2, SW:TOR or WH40K comes out. Dragon Nest can be found at http://dragonnest.nexon.net/ and is worth a look just to try the combat system out. And did I mention? The PvP (unavailable to US Beta at the time of this posting) looks insane.

    Lastly, Blizzard has a new IP in the works (codenamed: Titan Project for the interim), which appears to be a new MMO. Very, very little is known about TP, as they are very tight lipped about it right now. However, knowing Blizzard, and their style for making great games better by ripping off the best ideas of their competitors (WoW's improved BG queue system, anyone?), if I were to hazard a guess as to what TP will become, I'd say that it would be a MMO in the style of GW2 or SW:TOR, if not to replace the aging WoW system, then to create, incorporate and improve upon their competitors elements in an MMO system that WoW currently cannot support. This is, of course, speculation on my part, but if I were a betting man, my chips would go towards this theory. Who knows- time may prove that the only company to release a genuine WoW killer will be Blizzard themselves.

    ~W
     
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  2. SaberJ2X

    SaberJ2X Moderator
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    you mean MMORPGs...

    I hate them all, rewards grinding for months instead of skills
     
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  3. That guy!

    That guy! Expecting Father

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    I know what you mean Saber, it seems like MMORPGs reward those with more time on their hands. I realize that WoW made it less of a grind to attain good gear, which has been handy. However, I would like a system that is more skill based. Guild Wars seemed to have a system that was good in that aspect.

    I'm looking forward to Old Republic, and will definitely give it a try. My only problem is the space combat system, which has you go around on a rail shooting Galaga style at enemies coming your way. I'm a fan of space exploration/space sims like Privateer and Freelancer. Or even a system like X-Wing and Tie Fighter. Hopefully something similar comes out in later expansions.
     
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  4. BakaMattSu

    BakaMattSu ^__^
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    On the Guild Wars front - I remember being excited at the prospect and pitch of the original game, but it ultimately fell flat for me. While it had some interesting ideas, the "MMO" aspects were mostly faked where the majority of the game was run upon local instances and the only truly massive areas were communal hubs that split into load-balanced instances. I never made it to end game, but from what I perceived, it was primarily PvP, which is not my cup of MMO-tea. I admit I have completely dismissed GW2 from my jaded experience with GW, which saw a few nights play before being tossed away into storage.

    Old Republic - As somewhat borderline to a "Star Wars fan that will purchase anything" (I enjoy the new movies on some levels, granted, nowhere near the extent of the classic trilogy, I mildly enjoyed the original CN Clone Wars miniseries, but can't stand the newer series) and a BioWare fan-boy (I still don't care what people say, I like DA2) this title feels like it will be my match made in heaven. I'm already committed to a pre-order.

    Warhammer - Eh...I don't see this one going anywhere, but they can feel free to prove me wrong.

    Titan Project - This makes perfect sense and has been rumored for quite some time. Blizzard has had a long time to refine their current aging behemoth and no doubt has always had a plan for when it would be time to put it out to pasture. Given Blizzard's perfectionist record of extensive development, I don't see this one turning up for a long time despite us knowing of its existence.

    I shelved WoW some time back (WotLK Trials of the Crusader patch) and actually did give it another chance right before Cataclysm, but the game resembled little of what I remembered and had turned into people face-rolling their keyboard to blitz the instances. Was the final nail in my personal coffin.

    No offense, but this comes off a little bit elitist and uninformed. While I can't speak for all RPGs, those that I have were certainly not affairs where the neighbour's two brain cell hamster could succeed at.

    PvE endgame requires coordination, awareness, reaction and optimal play/rotation to succeed. Lack in too many of these areas and you aren't likely to see any rewards even if you danced on your keys 24/7 for years.

    PvP endgame requires knowing your enemies as well (or better) as yourself, optimal use of your abilities and cooldowns and proper reactions to any number of situations.

    Distilling it down to a simple time=reward equation is oversimplification. At least in WoW's case, the upper echelon of rewards (Arena weapons, Highest raid content) were not something achievable just through grinding. Your analogy works at lower stages of the reward system, but loses steam as you approach the best-of-the-best rewards.
     
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  5. wertitis

    wertitis Proud Mary keep on burnin'

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    Funny you should mention skills in an MMO, Saber- GW2's arena style PvP system actually uses uniform sets of gear, so that when you're actually fighting someone else, it becomes a matter of skill and not just who has the better +5 mace.

    Also with GW2, they look to implement an even leveling curve system, to where leveling from 10-15 should take about as long as it takes to level from 30-35, and so forth, helping to put an end to the endgame grind.

    Matt- Old Republic does have its merits, and I'm curious to see how Bioware handles this. It's not something I'd put out to pasture yet, but I have my reservations, especially in the face of Hickman as exec producer. I'll likely give it a try anyway.

    ~W
     
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  6. wertitis

    wertitis Proud Mary keep on burnin'

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  7. wertitis

    wertitis Proud Mary keep on burnin'

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    Well, SW:TOR had quite the meteoric rise and now it's on the decline. All that's left is GW2. Excited? Most certainly. I've been enjoying their beta weekends, quite a bit. Luckily, I'm not the only one!

    ~W
     
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