Tobold's Blog
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Open Sunday Thread

Post your thoughts, questions, or suggestions here!
If you are an MMORPG developer, which one would you develop?
1. A game the way you want it to be. Focusing on your own vision and hoping that players would like it.
2. A game the way you think the players want it to be. Focusing on number of players to make sure that you gain profit.
3. A game the way you want it to be. Blieving that you will be able to convince everyone that this is indeed the best way.

This, of course, requires that you yourself are open and critical towards new ideas and don't position yourself somwhere along the extremes of the MMO player spectrum.

If you are open and critical towards new ideas, would you say that it's still a game the way you want it to be? Or would that be a game the way you think others want it to be?
If you are an MMORPG developer, which one would you develop?

Well, I'm a developer (though not in the gaming industry), and I develop whatever my boss pays me to develop.
I would be surprised if developers can make decisions on anything else than technical choices.

Back to your question, I think that the underlying choice would be fame versus money: If I want to make a game that will be remembered (and accept to possibly lose the money and time invested in it if it's unsuccessful) I'll choose (1); but if I want a safe money return, I'll choose (2).
Vinnz - Kind of strange statement from an economics perspective.. If your games gains "fame", which I will define as people liking it, then you should be able to generate revenue from it (box sales, subscriptions, item shops etc..)

Therefore, even if your game might initially cost a lot, assuming you have a lot of fame means you will get to a break even rather sooner than later.

The problem with making a game as "one wants it to be" imo is that people might not like it, and than you have neither money nor fame.

But in the end it depends on a good mixture of strong idea, well carried out execution, good management, lean development and, well, many more I am too lazy to think of :)
@Maxim: I definitely agree with you. I didn't want my post to be too long, and finally haven't explain enough...
I'd like you to write about the role of 'community celebrities' in different mmos you have played, especially wow.

I'm not a wow player, but I have the feeling the difference between the elite and the normal player is another +7 on your helmet(or whatever bogus stat)

I used to play Anarchy Online and at times even being high lvl was special ... I remember names and looks of certain people I have never talked to, because there were so few really 'elite players'.

- Are there any celebrities in wow?
- Is there enough room for being special in wow?
- In general, is the lvl cap too low(you could analyze pros and cons of 'unlimited advancement')

Just a few things to think about ;)
How would you handle the Trinity in your MMO? (tank, healer, dps)
@Pangoria: I'd break the idea of pure trinity, and mix them all up into each role.

Tank: Weak damage, okay heal, strong survivability
DPS: Weak heal, okay survivability, strong damage
Healer: Weak survivability, okay damage, strong heal

Yes, I'd make healers to deal more damage than tanks. I want the tanks to be really there to absorb damage and control threat. I want the healers to be doing something other than just curing. I want the DPS to do something else other than casting magic or punching faces.

Then I'd add status attack skill on everyone too. Some will be able to paralyze, some able to slow, some able to poison, etc. Some can do many of those, some can do less.

Basically I want to break the idea of "must have X class or Y class" to succeed in party events. Having multiple tanks would nullify the need for healer (tanks can heal okay and multiple tanks mean less threat to DPS). Having multiple healers can nullify the need for tank (DPS can tank instead since healers are plentiful to heal the DPS taking extra damage). DPS aren't required either as a party of tanks and healers can still win, just slower because it'd be a "safe and sound, slow but sure" approach. And so on.
@Blaise: I wrote up an entire post on it before asking Tobold. I thought along similar lines. You can check it out at:
f your games gains "fame", which I will define as people liking it, then you should be able to generate revenue from it (box sales, subscriptions, item shops etc..)

Darkfall anybody? A WoW-clone with 20k players would be unknown. But Darkfall gained fame. Even if nothing else ;)
Would you like to test Dawntide? It is in (very early) open beta and far, far from release. Years.

It is a sandbox, but with safe zones. Right now the whole open beta takes place just in a safe zone. There is no PvP unless you walk somewhere where nobody else is ;)

If you can get over the pre-alpha animations of the chars it might be worth writing about.

And the few devoted danish developers need any help they can get. I think we should encourage small studios. .. If only to develop ideas that Blizzard steals later (damn, I'm evil :).
I've been playing Dawntide all morning, as it happens. I was in the CB and played it on and off but it was pretty buggy and I only spent maybe 20 hours there in total.

It's a lot more fleshed out now, as you'd hope it would be by open beta, but it's still pretty basic and very buggy. I had to log in and out half a dozen times in a couple of hours just to clear phantom items stuck to my cursor or invisible mobs that were trying to kill me from under the ground.

That said, it's a really beautiful setting. The buildings and landscapes are very convincing. It has a lot of potential, but it's got an awful long way to go yet before it's fit for any kind of paid release.
I agree, Bhagpuss. It is not 'playable' yet. Only 'testable'.

What makes me mention it is the fact that they have WoW-style targeting and a strong focus on creation - in contrast to Darkfall, which conentrates on destruction.

It's a mix of WoW, EVE, Ultima Online and the SIMs if you so want. :)

They have an intersting economics system so far with a player driven market and NPCs that act as market makers (if I understood it correctly).

Only thing I don't like is the player progression. I'd use classes or at least a heavily modified skill system. But otherwise I really like the concept and the devotion of the developers. I heard there are 16 of them who work 24/7 ;)
If all World of Warcraft servers were suddenly unplugged and permanently terminated, with people being unable to ever access their online avatars, would this be considered genocide?
@Dar: go look up the definition of genocide again. Also; no.

@Cerebx: whilst the idea of celebrities is pretty stupid anyway, I'll take the bait since your post is a disguised bash on themepark mechanics.

Firstly, the difference between the elite, the progression raider, the casual raider and the heroic grinder is fairly marked; not in looks per se (unless they're using the gear sets), but in the names, item levels and stats on their gear. Of course, that's just talking about gear; some fights require special talent specs for some classes, so there's obviously that difference as well, although they're not going to be in that spec al the time so it's not really noticeable.

1) There are definite celebrities, or at least very well known people and guilds (see Ensidia, Kungen), as well as machinimators, strat/website posters (Ciderhelm etc), along with the realm celebrities and their guilds, either for their gear, progression, banter or activities.

2) Yes, there's more than enough room, although unlike MMOs where grinding skills is the "elite" it's about being different, creative, progressed or noticeable.

3) The level cap is, imo, just right: you spend enough time levelling, but you feel like you're steadily progressing.
The level cap is, imo, just right: you spend enough time levelling, but you feel like you're steadily progressing.

I have a question here:
1) If leveling is fun, how can the levelcap be just right? I would expect to keep leveling as long as possible, if it is fun.

2) If leveling is not fun, why don't we start at endgame after a short tutorial?

You're attacking a straw man, it was a rather honest question from an outsider.
I still remember really unique people like a fat atrox fixer with grid armor and pink shades standing by the grid exit in Omni Ent and wanted to know if things like that existed in other mmos(especially wow, since I never played it past beta).

"If leveling is fun..."

Fun for who? Most players? All players? Fun for you?

What clearly IS popular (=fun?) in an MMO is character progression and choice.

Levelling, gearscore, arena score, farmable mounts/peets and achievements. Choose your progression poison.
@Nils: Even if something is fun, it doesn't have to be endless. Just like eating the most delicious cake in the world doesn't mean that you want to eat the cake all the time.
Here's an off the wall idea.

A weakness of many online games, I've found, is that they often feel detached from the real world. A large part of this is because players are spread all over the country, and can almost never meet up offline.

What would happen if a game suggested servers to new players by zip code, so that most players on a server were from the same region/state/city? I think it might deepen the social interaction substantially.
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