Tobold's Blog
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Open Sunday Thread

Sunday, a day of rest, for me, and the opportunity for you to tell me in this thread what subjects you'd like covered in this blog, or start a discussion among you.
For the release of Wrath, I'm going to wait in line at Fry's (an electronics megastore in California, USA). When TBC came out, 4 Fry's locations -- including the one where I'll be waiting this year -- had WoW developers on hand to sign boxes at a special midnight sale. There were about 3,000 people in line last year, and this year I'd like to interview some of the people in line to ask them about WoW. For example: What class and race do you play? What is your favorite activity in WoW? Do you read any WoW blogs? :)

Do you have any ideas for interesting interview questions? It's not often you get to interview a broad section of WoW players.
Interview questions: How long they've played WoW. Why are they staying with WoW and not trying another MMO. What would it take for a new MMO to pull them away from WoW. Is graphics or gameplay more important? Prefer solo or group's for questing. Are BG's worth their time.
What about Wrath of the Lich King are you most excited about/looking forwards to? And which character do you plan to level first and why?
There are a few very basic rules for designing games in general.
1) A good game is easy to learn and hard to master.
Something that Chess, Soccer and WoW - especially with BC - share.
2) Players tend to optimise the fun out of it - good rules prohibit that.
Soccer has offside for a reason. Chess has a time limit for each players thinking time. And WoW has a million rules that are only designed to serve this one sentence.

Do you know any other very basic rules ?
The comment thread from Friday's zombie post seemed to have a lot of "You prefer a different playing style, therefore you are inferior" types of comments, which seemed kind of odd.

Do you know any other very basic rules ?

I don't know if these would count, but perhaps something along the lines of:

3. All pieces of the game must be well developed to work together, or the underdeveloped pieces should be easily avoidable.
Are we entering a significant downtime in MMO development. After the next WoW expansion, the only two MMO of interest will be Star Gate Worlds and Champions Online; neither of which is expected to be genre breaking and neither expected to be monster hits. After that it will be literally years before we see Bioware's new MMO and we'll probably be well into the next decade before Blizzard unveils their next online RPG. For gamers who have grown accustomed to ambitious MMO titles being released on a yearly basis, this next 2-3 years could prove to be quite frustrating.

And how will the economic crisis impact further MMO development. It certainly can't help.
Seems the thought for the new Star Wars MMO is to give more opportunities on solo play, with henchmen. This seems to always be a sore point when MMO's are released (one group of people say "Awesome, I can solo" and others are "Why play an MMO if you are going to solo")
I did a post here On Rock Paper Shotguns article about how they feel the Henchman mechanic (which we seem to be seeing more of) is making the MMO the way HE wants to play..
As he states
"I get the extra hands I require to tackle a stronger foe, but without them bitching and whining at me because I didn’t use my double-cloaking no-hit AOE poison buff at exactly the point they would have used it if they were playing on their own"
We know henchmen exists in Guild Wars, and DDO is adding them next patch. As of last week, EQ is the first full blown MMO I know of with this mechanic..(Seems this is already making waves in EQ, with Tipa and Stargrace discussing how the new henchman added with the latest expansion have changed the game for good...)
What are your impressions and what would WoW be like if some raid encounters could be done with henchmen? How do you believe henchmen will affect future MMO's?
The more people are unemployed the more MMOs are played. No, I am not trying to offend anybody. The more people work only 30 hours instead of 45 hours per week, the more MMOs are played. I do not think that an economic crisis is bad for MMOs (it's very profitable for the psychologists in New York right now, I heard).

Then, there is still the question, if we can forever continue to employ 'everybody' and produce as much as we can. Eventually, with enough technical innovations, humanity might enter an era where not everybody is encouraged to work at all, because the massive amounts of produced good would not find any buyers. It was not so long ago that we could produce more food than we could (should) ever eat - something unthinkable for most of humanities time on earth.

There is no real reason, why we work as much as 100 years ago and enjoy 3x the 'life quality' in terms of produced goods. It might as well be possible to work 3x less and enjoy the 'life quality' of 1908. Or something in between.

Enjoying oneself in a virtual world that - in contrast to the real world - is built to be fun, is definately one of the possibilities for humanities future. For some people, with a lot of imagination, MMOs can already replace the 'real life'. Something that is, of course, demonized within our current culture.

.. But you were talking about the next decade so .. .. mmh sorry ;)

I'd add 3) Low entry requirements

Whether it's chess needing only a few pieces of wood, football needing only a ball and a few objects to mark the goals or the ability to play WOW on low spec machines, this seems to be key to allowing people to try the game out without a massive up-front expenditure.
Thank you, Sven.
I am tempted to add that it is also good, if the chess pieces can cost 100€ each or the soccer field can be sourrounded by a stadium and given a payed referee - or the computer game looks much better on high end machines.

So I'd change this to "scaleablity of requiremnts'

I think it would be cool to consider a post about what YOU would like to see in a next gen MMORPG. With all your experiences in MMORPG What would you like to see in terms of classes, combat, character developement, gaming mobility, pvp, and general things that can give a mmorpg a greater long gevity?
Exciting time to be a gamer; a time for learning if you are a developer.

As WoW puts the nail in the coffin to Warhammer online next month, both games stumble over basic issues that were well documented. Overpowered tactics (Magus & Engineer pull) along with overpowered classes (ret paladins) ruin the pvp experience despite cries for nerfs. Warhammer refuses to deal with disproportionate rewards and grindy gameplay while WoW deals with server stability and the truly awful ingame event of a zombie invasion. At a time when the game is most fun to play for WoW - new specs and reduced health for raid bosses, someone forgot how central cities and their npc's are to the game. None of the servers I have characters on in WoW are playable in cities at the moment and Warhammer has no stated intention of improving their RvR mechanics and reward system.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
4) Grinding is fun. Whether it be grinding pieces of wood on a lathe to make chess pieces, or....
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