Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
 
Turning back time

Wolfshead is again posting a long rant on how everything was better in the past, or more specifically how the original Everquest was the best game ever, and all newer games are just shallow pieces of shit. Well, first of all somebody needs to tell Wolfshead that Everquest is in fact still running, so why does he waste his breath crying out for Everquest 3 (aka EQ Next) to be just like Everquest 1 instead of just playing EQ1? And then he has to realize that the understandable love we all feel for our first major MMORPG is due to the fact that it was our first major MMORPG. You can't turn back time, and the "sense of adventure" he remembers from EQ was *NOT* an inherent game feature, but simply due to the fact that playing such a game for the first time and being completely bewildered *IS* an adventure. People whose first MMORPG was World of Warcraft feel exactly the same way about WoW, remembering, quote: "Danger. Risk. Survival. Freedom. Mystery. Fantasy. Discovery. Camaraderie. Community. Escape. Defeat. Victory. Gain. Loss. Excellence. Skill. Excitement.", they had in World of Warcraft and somehow missing those elements in the games they played after that.

The only part where I agree with him, in parts, is where Wolfshead talks about why Everquest 2 was less good than the original Everquest. Quote: "With the original EQ I had 7 spell buttons, with EQ2 I had 52 buttons." I tried Everquest 2 not once, but twice, with a few years in between, and the above quote pretty much sums up that game for me. Everquest 2 is so full of features and options and buttons and collectibles and stuff that it ends up being completely unplayable for me. I completely agree with Wolfshead's advice that SOE should learn from Blizzard and make a game that is, quote: "Easy to Learn - Hard to Master".

What I absolutely don't agree with is his idea that you can take some features directly out of EQ1 and stuff them into EQ3, like "no instances", or "better community", which isn't a feature at all, but a consequence of both game design and a particular history. Some things only worked in Everquest 1 at the time because the community was smaller, more homogeneous, and of a different generation than it is now. Hoping that if you'd recreate EQ3 on exactly the same rules as EQ1, only with better graphics, and you'd get back that same community spirit and self-organization back is just foolish. Times have moved on. You can't just make a game where raid bosses aren't instanced and hope that guilds organize themselves into an orderly raid calendar any more.

Wolfhead's basic idea for EQ Next is to make that game so horribly unappealing for modern MMO players that only a handful of diehard EQ1 veterans would be willing to play it. What he forgets is the small detail that SOE probably wants to make money with EQ Next, and Wolfhead's concept is a recipe on how to lose millions of dollars on a MMORPG. Maybe he should read up on the economic concept of "utility", where it says that people spend money on things that have "utility" for them, therefore a product that makes more money is by definition better than a product that is less popular. If Wolfshead really thinks SOE is planning a game with naked corpse runs, xp losses, and forced grouping, he should really stop smoking whatever it is that causes those hallucinations. A time machine is more realistic than SOE trying to redo the original Everquest with those same features.
Comments:
This is exactly (literally, EXACTLY) what I think and have been trying to say at various places across the internet...you just say it far better than me.

The magic and community of EQ1 were only caused by it being his first MMO. I have the exact same memories he does, but with WoW instead of EQ1. Now I wish he'd shut up and stop ruining the direction of the genre.
 
The only part where I agree with him, in parts, is where Wolfshead talks about why Everquest 2 was less good than the original Everquest. Quote: "With the original EQ I had 7 spell buttons, with EQ2 I had 52 buttons." I tried Everquest 2 not once, but twice, with a few years in between, and the above quote pretty much sums up that game for me. Everquest 2 is so full of features and options and buttons and collectibles and stuff that it ends up being completely unplayable for me. I completely agree with Wolfshead's advice that SOE should learn from Blizzard and make a game that is, quote: "Easy to Learn - Hard to Master".

Sorry to pick just this point out of the post, but this is one of my personal gripes. I think that that can be applied to WoW also. It also has much more abilities than is necessery, and with every expansion there are is added more.

You can often in PvE make do with the most used abilities but there is a ton more that are situational. And when you finally have a use for that special ability for when the mob is standing on his head, is stunned and is at a range of 20-22 you can't even remember which slot you placed it in.

And how it works in PvP where those special abilites are often more useful is a pain. Since you've got a ton of those situational abilities you have to place them in less than perfect quickslots, which also means that you have to twist your hands like crazy for it to work. Yes you CAN rebind your keys, but even that becomes hard to do in an efficient way.

I don't really know if this gets any better in Cataclysm but I doubt it. Blizzard should really try to add some abilities that sort of replaces some of the already existing abilities instead of adding new ones all the time. Say for example that there is a new spell added for warlocks which replaces the old shadowbolt and which adds a short time snare to the target. (Note that that was just an example pulled right out of the air. It could really be anything else and to which ever other ability/spell in the game.)
 
so why does he waste his breath crying out for Everquest 3 (aka EQ Next) to be just like Everquest 1 instead of just playing EQ1?

Because the current EQ1 is not the original at all. And because he already knows this world and would like to get to know a new one. Nowadays graphics etc would be nice.

---
You can't turn back time, and the "sense of adventure" he remembers from EQ was *NOT* an inherent game feature, but simply due to the fact that playing such a game for the first time and being completely bewildered *IS* an adventure.

This is only partly correct. E.g. Vanilla WoW at max level, or EQ during (long) leveling, offered more game mechanics that encouraged exploration and adventure.

And the best solo-player RPG I know in terms of immersion is Fallout 3. (If played with the correct attitude!)
But Falluot 3 is far, far from my first RPG ! :)

---
I completely agree with Wolfshead's advice that SOE should learn from Blizzard and make a game that is, quote: "Easy to Learn - Hard to Master".


I also completely agree and would also would really like to point out that too many buttons hurt gameplay flow, and thus immersion.

---
Times have moved on. You can't just make a game where raid bosses aren't instanced and hope that guilds organize themselves into an orderly raid calendar any more.

I partly agree: You cannot simply copy/paste EQ1. But you can reintroduce non-instanced raid bosses, if you make world travel sticky. That is no/resticted teleports, like in EVE. The problem of queues can be circumvented this way. Another idea might be phasing; not that I'd like it.

---

If Wolfshead really thinks SOE is planning a game with naked corpse runs, xp losses, and forced grouping, he should really stop smoking whatever it is that causes those hallucinations.


You can absolutely make a game you would like to play; even though it might be hard to introduce to the market. In fact, that is what we ask the developers all the time: Stop cloning WoW, damnit!!

EVE is, once again, the perfect example. Who would think that nowaday this game could have some hundred thousand subs? You can start small and build it up. That's also been what the guy who wrote the quoted APB review suggested.

---

A time machine is more realistic than SOE trying to redo the original Everquest with those same features.


We are at a turning point right now. Even Blizzard is about to make (non raids in) WoW less trivial. They limit the Dungeon Finder, don't introduce many new skills, scrap a few old ones, etc.

I don't think that EQNext will be what Wolfshead wishes for, but it might well be much more like EQ1 than like current WoW. And that would be a good thing in my opinion.
 
I really feel that the worst thing infecting the MMO community is the vomit-inducing rose-tinted glasses we, as a community, have for the past.

I mean, I'm all on the nostalgia bus as much as the next person and I love how it used to be, but some people need to realize that it can never be that way again. There is no going back, the enjoyment of bygone MMOs was due to circumstances, not purity of concept.
 
There is no going back, the enjoyment of bygone MMOs was due to circumstances, not purity of concept.

@Sine Nomine:

Do you imply that nothing has changed in the last ten years?
Because, if you argue that it's all just due to circumstances and not game design, them you also argue that there weren't no changes in game design. At least no changes that had an impact.

In my opinion the concept has changed massively. Now, some people like the current WoW concept and love teleporting.

But others don't. In my opinion there is a massive difference between EQ1-original and WoW-WotLK.

Is it really so hard to believe that these massive changes made some player like the WoW-WotLK und other players love EQ1-original concept?
 
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Quadruple post on the wrong thread, that must be the new record. Deleted here, but left in the Virtual Murder thread where the comment belonged.
 
Just for clarity, are you saying WoW is easy to learn, hard to master? Because if anything, the fact that WoW stays easy from start to 'finish' is what allows the more casual players to see the content and feel like they are included.

Other than that, overall I agree in principal, but I will say that a game like Darkfall shows that with the right setup (but not an exact copy), you CAN recreate, say, early UO in 2010. It's not exactly the same, but it's pretty damn close. That Vanguard failed to do that for EQ1 does not mean some other game can't pull it off, although it certainly won't be EQN
 
@Syncaine: Just to clarify, are you saying that WoW ends at the normal mode bosses of the latest raid? There's far harder things to do than that.
 
WoW is easy to learn and hard to master, if you include raiding/arena. The rest is trivial.

Raiding is not terribly hard to master, but the choreographies need some time.

Arena can be extremely hard. The sky is the limit here. The setting, however is terribly boring. I'm curious how rated BGs turn out in Cataclysm. WoW may not be a virtual world anymore, but rated BG could be a fun minigame. I am just not sure that they are worth 13€/month.
 
@Sine Nomine

So you are saying the only reason I have found memories of EverQuest is because of Nostalgia? That I in fact did not enjoy those 5 years I played it?

I don't buy that and I get really pissed off anytime someone infers I only miss the EQ experience because of nostalgia.

I agree with Nils and Tobold to a degree. EQ worked because of the community playing MMOs at the time. I would even say that's the same reason Vanilla WoW worked to a lesser extent.

I don't think all of EQ1's features would work in a MMO again but I think some of them are due to be tried and expanded on again. What's so wrong with open dungeons?

Take EQ1 and Vanilla WoW and compare it to today's WoW. EQ and Vanilla had a world, while WoW just has Dalaran with some menu's to join games.
 
I will say that a game like Darkfall shows that with the right setup (but not an exact copy), you CAN recreate, say, early UO in 2010. It's not exactly the same, but it's pretty damn close.

The best data I have (and feel free to link to better data if you have any) say that Darkfall peaked at just over 20k subscribers, and has been pretty much stable at around that number for the whole year 2010. I seriously doubt that SOE is shooting for 20k subscribers with EQ Next, they most probably want 200K+.

So, yes, you can recreate old games. But unless you do it on a very small budget (No idea how much Darkfall cost to develop), it isn't a good business plan to do so.
 
WoW is easy to learn and hard to master, if you include raiding/arena. The rest is trivial.

Agreed. Even with the supposedly "easy" raid mode, the majority of players still haven't killed the Lich King yet, but far more than half of the players reached the level cap.

Beta testers confirm announcements from Blizzard that there is a small change in philosophy here, making leveling beyond level 65 somewhat harder. I doubt it will be as hard as EQ, but nevertheless making solo combat and questing when leveling from 80 to 85 less trivial would be a good change.
 
Agreed. Even with the supposedly "easy" raid mode, the majority of players still haven't killed the Lich King yet, but far more than half of the players reached the level cap.

And any player who hasn't reached the level cap is either 5 or younger or simply didn't invest the time.

You automatically reach the level cap in WoW, if you play it for a time. It's not even 'easy' .. it happens automatically.
 
@MagrothJ

Blizzard have already acknowledged the number of abilities available is becoming a problem (particularly the rarely used situationally useful ones) and have said they're working on reducing the number by removing/consolidating some.
I haven't got a link and can't remember what or how many but I do remember them mentioning things like a mage's dampen magic and, more recently, one of the hunter's AOE abilities.
 
"Maybe he should read up on the economic concept of "utility", where it says that people spend money on things that have "utility" for them, therefore a product that makes more money is by definition better than a product that is less popular."

You should be careful with this. You shift from subjective utility to objective betterness. That's dangerous and misleading. You can't justifiably say that something is objectively "better" (without qualifying "better", I have to assume it's objective here) solely because it gives more total utility to its users in aggregate.

Which game is "better" depends entirely on the individual player. You can't establish a useful, let alone objective, hierarchy of game quality based on total utility approximated from nothing more than sales numbers. "WoW is a better game than Darkfall because it sold more copies" doesn't make much sense because there is no correlation between popularity and quality--it's also quite difficult to establish a meaningful way of telling game quality beyond a very basic level.
 
I have to agree with Evizaer. The number of subs is interesting, no more.
The best example are movies; let's say Star Trek movies.

There are two groups of people who could watch them:
1) Fans
2) Non-fans.

The fans would like Star Trek the way it is in the series, perhaps the way it way it as in TNG. That means: Not much action, dialogue, smart dilemma, credible story, etc.

Group 2 wants to watch an action movie in space.

What do we get?
An action movie in space.

Why?
Because the fans will watch the movie no matter what it will be like.

Is the movie good?
Well, the creators just needed to make sure that everybody had just enough reason to watch it. No more no less.

Blockbuster movies are like that: They not even maximise aggregate utility, but number of consumers.

That means that a consumer who loves the movie is a problem: You could certainly make a compromise so, that somebody else now likes the movie enough to pay, but the one who loved it, still likes it enough to pay, too.

The ideology of the least common denominator produces products that make compromises until they are just useful enough to pay for by as many people as possible. They don't care if you rate it 10/10 or 6/10, as long as you like it enough to pay, because your 10/10 might be your neighbors 3/10. And thus he wouldn't watch it.

Concluding, the core idea here is that consumers have preferences that cannot be changed by the product is not complete; it is flawed.

At some point a producer has to make a stand and convince consumers that his product is good enough.
That is what EVE does, for example.
 
Aren't exploration, discovery, mystery and the like pretty meaningless terms when spoilersites pop up left and right with every big mmo release?

I wonder how much information about SW:ToR will be available before opening up for the public.
 
@syncaine : the "last" fight in wow atm, LK, ask you to be 100% focused for 15 minutes, else you wipe. That's pretty EQ1 to me, even if there's 25 people only now in a raid.

Difficulty is where you want it in wow.

@Evilzaer : replace "better" with "more succeful", still subjective, but more in line with what tobold says i think. With a 100+M budget, the project is usually driven by the investors, not the other way around (ok, competent investors, hopefully)
 
"where it says that people spend money on things that have "utility" for them, therefore a product that makes more money is by definition better than a product that is less popular."

No. The more popular product has more utility for more people. That is all that means. It doesn't make it better than other products, unless you make the mistake of popular=quality. I'm worried your about to slip into your philistine argument that popularity does in fact equal quality.

The Ford F-150 is the top selling vehicle in America. Doesn't make it the best vehicle, just the one that the most people believe fits their lifestyle. It really depends on what YOU want out of a vehicle, or a game, that determines (for you) which is the best.
 

Difficulty is where you want it in WoW.


I want it to be in the world ...
Oh! It is not there - it is only in one single instance and in arena.

@ Tobold:
Just read an article that Baywatch is the most successful series in Germany ever.

German quote:

Vor zwanzig Jahren startete die Strand-Operette im deutschen TV - und wurde mit einem kruden Mix aus flachen Bäuchen und flacher Story zur quotenstärksten Serie der TV-Geschichte.


Does that make baywatch the best series ever?
 
Yep. You never forget your first time. This is the biggest problem with the MMO genre at this point. I'm constantly trying to recreate that feeling, and it took me a while to realize its impossible. I like shooters, i like ARPGs, and I like strategy games. When someone makes games that are as purely fun to play as those, in an MMO format, I'll play them. Until then, the MMORPG stuff that gets put out over and over again just isn't likely to "do it" for me.
 
"I want it to be in the world ...
Oh! It is not there - it is only in one single instance and in arena."

I beg to differ. Someone who has never played wow and is in quest gear will find the content still a bit challenging, i think. What has been nerfed is the rate at which you gain xp, essentially faster leveling.

We find wow easy because we already know it and farm it with BoA gear, but afaik, the mobs difficulty is still the same.
 
Meta--- my first time playing WoW, which was years ago, my only problem was figuring out WTF was going on. I had khazham up all the time. Now, mods tell you where to go and what to do.

Aside from the confusion of learning a new game, no, I don't think the game would be challenging. It wasn't challenging back when it was hard.
 
I beg to differ. Someone who has never played wow and is in quest gear will find the content still a bit challenging, i think. What has been nerfed is the rate at which you gain xp, essentially faster leveling.

Agreed. From level 6 to about 30, WoW can be non-trivial, if you play a non-plate class that cannot heal.

At about level 30 you will get all the talents and skills that were introduced into the game during the last four years. It becomes trivial again.

That is all without heirlooms. I deleted them, when I realised that diminished my fun at twinking: I would have to throw away item upgrades all the time, because "I already have an heirloom". Heirlooms make leveling even more grindy.

Back tot opic:
What is important is that this is all neglected content. It is a residue from past times. That's why it is non-trivial for some classes/speccs.

Leveling in TBC or WotLK content is extremely trivial. The only reason to die would be to add several mobs and don't do anything for 10 seconds and more. It is absolutely impossible that someone, who spent enough time to advance to level 60/70, is so bad at playing the game.
 
hmmm... i remember having great fun in tbc with my rogue (solo), and using vanish / sap / stun all the time :)

What was trivial was dying, thou. Just a few seconds run, and start again. A GREAT change from EQ/DAOC, which i don't regret a bit.

Ofc, doing the same thing later with my hunter (essentially a soloing class), and finally with a BoA stuffed pally seemed like a stroll in the park :)
 
As an ex-EQ 1 player, I am certainly following EQ Next but I fail to see what's wrong with wanting some of that playstyle back. For me, I actually miss the death penalties and the role diversity among other things. I'm certainly not hoping for EQ1 rebranded...lessons have been learnt since then, but equally I don't think it's wrong to value what came before and be interested in seeing what came before it. Just because some don't value the the naked corpse runs or the death penalties, doesn't mean that it's bad to reconsider them. There are umpteen MMO-s released and in production, what exactly is wrong with being excited to see a modern interpretation of a classic? If you don't like those features, it's simple, you won't play it??
 
You can't justifiably say that something is objectively "better" (without qualifying "better", I have to assume it's objective here) solely because it gives more total utility to its users in aggregate.

I think you are wrong there, because it is YOU who is basing his definition of "better" on something which is individual and subjective. Objectively I can define "better" as "giving more utility to the maximum number of users". You don't necessarily have to be included in that "maximum number of users" for that statement to be true.
 
>...making solo combat and questing when leveling from 80 to 85 less trivial would be a good change.

I heard the changes affect 65+, so possibly Outland will be less of a grind as well; something to distract you from thinking how much you hate the abstract chaos.
 
@Nils and others who are saying a game like EG3 could be "built up" like eve or darkfall

EQ3 will not be started with limited funds as a niche title with plans to slowly grow.

SOE will sink millions upon millions into it and expect immediate results for that.
 
Imagine 5 users and two ways to design your game: Option A and Option B.

I use a scale of 1-10. 10 means a player loves your game. 1 means he hates it.

All users buy a game if they give it at least a rating of 5/10.
All users pay the same price when they buy the game.


"User benefit" on a scale 1-10 of different users depending on design option:

Option: A | B
----------------
User 1: 9 | 5
User 2: 8 | 5
User 3: 9 | 5
User 4: 2 | 5
User 5: 1 | 5
----------------
Sum : 29 | 25

Total benefit
Option A: 9+8+9+2+1=29
Option B: 5+5+5+5+5=25

To maximize aggregate user benefit you would have to chose option A, but at option B you sell the game 5 times. At option A you only sell it 3 times.

Substract costs, and your profit at option B is much, much higher than at option A.

That is why the number of sold items says nothing about quality of the product! This explains why Hollywood blockbusters make the most money, although nobody sane would argue that they are the best movies possible. This is why WoW is just fun enough to occasionally resubscribe. That is the reason all Star Trek movies only appeal to the non-fans.

Player 1-3 would absolutely love a game developed according to option A - they will never get it.

Only way would be to make (allow !) consumers to pay more. But that is a tricky problem; and don't start talking about item shops!

My suggestion is market segmentation:
It would not cost much to take e.g. the WoW engine and change a few rules. Create different MMOs for different players.

Give the market a choice!
 
One of the first things Wolfshead said was, "I’m not naive to believe that simply recreating the original EQ would even work given today’s market." Later on, he mentions the "demise of the original EQ". Seems you may have been a bit harsh on him. "[W]hy does he waste his breath crying out for Everquest 3 (aka EQ Next) to be just like Everquest 1 instead of just playing EQ1" sure smacks of not really reading or understanding Wolfshead's post.
 
Baywatch at 14 years old was WAY better than WoW IMO.

As an old(er) person, and definitely OLD in this community, this conversation is kind of...not new.

A generation gap has evolved very quickly due to the fast evolution of these games. We tend to remember and pine for the positive in the past and focus on the negative in the present.

In reality most things improve incrementally, but we quickly adapt to that being the standard and get critical again.

But comparing the present and the past is like comparing adulthood to childhood. One is NOW full of responsibilities and stress, the other is THEN full of nice, carefree memories.
 
My suggestion is market segmentation:

Your idea has one fatal flaw: You end up with two games, each having half the subscriber numbers. That is only feasible if you only SPENT half the money on each of the two games, thus none of the two games is polished and of high quality.
 
not really reading or understanding Wolfshead's post

I understand him better than he understands himself. When he talks of the "demise" of EQ, he assumes that he stayed the same, and the game changed for the worse. But in reality the game didn't change all that much, and it was the player who changed a lot.

It is the same reason why people believe Wrath of the Lich King "ruined" WoW. It didn't. It's just that playing WoW for 5 years ruins WoW *for you*.

Fact is that if by a miracle a game with all of EQ's original qualities, plus modern graphics, would appear on the market, EVERYBODY would hate it. Even Wolfshead. Because you can't turn back time, and the Wolfshead who felt a sense of wonder while playing his first Everquest is now an old bitter man who will never be happy in a MMORPG again, because he can't find his innocence back in it.
 

It is the same reason why people believe Wrath of the Lich King "ruined" WoW. It didn't. It's just that playing WoW for 5 years ruins WoW *for you*.


Excuse me?
The Dungeon Finder didn't change anything?

The mobs weren't relatively weaker suddenly?

Naxxramas wasn't more 'accessible' than Karazhan?

PvP balance didn't influence PvE?

GearScore made no difference?

Emblems in heroics and subsequently T9 for everybody never happened?


And that's just a few differences to The Burning Crusade out of my head!

Don't be ridiculous, Tobold!
 
@Tobold Re: Your idea has one fatal flaw: You end up with two games, each having half the subscriber numbers. That is only feasible if you only SPENT half the money on each of the two games, thus none of the two games is polished and of high quality.

That's daft though mate. If an MMO can't create a polished game and still make a profit on even a quarter of the subscriber base of WoW and the revenue that generates then it's a pretty poor show. No-one says it has to be polished from day one, but it is expected to plough some of that money back in ofc. With even 1/4 of the subscrober base of Warcraft, a company should be able to have the financial backing to be able to have a decent crack at it.
 
Your idea has one fatal flaw: You end up with two games, each having half the subscriber numbers. That is only feasible if you only SPENT half the money on each of the two games, thus none of the two games is polished and of high quality.

The whole point is that two games wouldn't cost 200%, but rather 110%.

Look at WoW: What would you need to do, to turn it into original EQ?

1) You multiply all outside mob health and damage with 4.
2) You turn some of the outside mobs in elites, give them some loot table and there you have you're non-instanced dungeons.
3) You divide all exp gains by 10.
4) You disable the Dungeon Finder.
5) You add random loot to some rare spawns.
6) ...

Most things would be easy and very, very cheap.

The costs in making an MMO are in the graphics, animations, sounds, bug testing, ..

That's a difference to movies, by the way! That's why movies will always cater to the least common denominator. MMOs don't have to!

And I am pretty certain that the pluralism between the different MMOs would be good for everybody. The consumers, of course. But also the developers, because they would be able to make even more people play MMOs.

Other industries do product segmentation for ages now. MMOs are rather new, that's why they do not, yet.
 
I personally believe MMOs are best when they are hard to learn and hard to master.

I also play both EQ1 and EQ2 and I love them both , both as they were and as they are now.

One thing I do agree on, though, is the 8 spell gems. Best. Thing . Ever.
 
On Nils' "market segmentation", Nils, are you speaking of what might otherwise be called "hardcore servers" and such with different rulesets for the same base game? Seems to me that might cut the development cost a fair bit.

I've argued for market segmentation in the business model more than once; it works for game design, too.
 
I enjoy reading Wolfshead's posts but I do take them with a pinch of salt (just like I take everything on the Internet).

To me the funny thing is that MMOs always seem to fall into one camp or the other - they are always either "carebear" or "hardcore" and can't seem to exist in between. I enjoy all types of MMO and I think the perfect one for me would one that exists somewhere in the middle.
 
It's more than just nostalgia guys. If you examine it you will find there were indeed game mechanics (or lack there of) that made EQ 1 have such an appeal. The biggest being it's more of a sandbox then a themepark that WoW and the many other cheap thrill MMOs that have come out are. If you want to have a community, a game that is memorable, it's going to take some effort and time investment plain and simple. EQ 1 had a number of features that was conducive to making your actions have consequences and create communities that newer MMOs are severely lacking.
 
I never played EQ1, I started MMO's with WoW and drifted through a bunch of other ones after that, before now having gone back to WoW.

Long gone are the times where I would spend 4+ hours daily in a virtual world though.

And the thing is, I have this feeling of nostalgia for my first year in WoW when everything was new and the whole game seemed so huge and cool to explore etc. There seemed to be more people around as well who actually enjoyed the levelling process and weren't going through it in gogogo fashion just to hit 60 asap.

It's like, a totally different game now! Except that, well it isn't. It's still WoW with some extra tacked on.

How different it feels now. I'm going through the TBC content now, and got stuck in Zangarmarsh. Not because it's hard, if anything WoW is pretty darn easy. It just doesn't feel fun anymore, yet another new zone that feels like any other. I tried Underbog which didn't catch ANY of the excitement of the dungeons of old where you actually had to think and plan.

And yes I realize I sound just like people moaning about how EQ1 was better. Just realize it, it wasn't. Just as Vanilla WoW was not really 'better' than the game is now.

Tobold is right.
 
Mates I feel saddened! Baktru and everyone else claiming it's just a rose lens phenomena, you are forgetting or more likely just unaware of one thing what set EQ/AC/UO apart from what we see now in WoW etc.: Community.

Those first gen games were sandboxes of the variety that fostered communities to be created. Your actions had *consequences*, can you believe it? You actually had a (MMO)ROLE(PG) in the game! I know it sounds freaking ridiculous right?

Unfortunately true sarcasm aside, the open world and mechanics of those first gen games made for more than just happy memories. They created a world that was dynamics and not just a quest factory. You cannot compare current MMOs in the same light and argue nostalgia because the pull of those games were much more deeper and involved than what we are playing now.

I won't argue one or the other is the better because it's a personal preference. Just like it is unfair to claim future MMOs should not be like EQ was because it is not as popular as WoW now - that is such a cock eyed statement. Now =/= the future, especially since 75% of the MMORPG maze rats haven't even experienced a sandbox game like the first gen games. Play what you want, and even play what you think you may not like - you may be surprised =] Variety is great, just like in real life!
 
I don't agree with all of Wolfhead's post, but I think he has a couple of valid points. One is that MMOs today are much more scripted than Everquest and allow less open-ended exploration. Even casual players like to explore, so bringing back some of that sense of freedom would be a good thing, even for mass-market MMOs.

A think his point about "adventure" is valid too. MMOs today are often specifically designed to discourage players from taking risks. Leaving aside things like naked corpse runs, there are plenty of things modern MMOs could to to encourage players to be more adventurous, for example, by giving bonus experience for taking on mobs and quests above the player's level, making dungeons less scripted and predictable, etc. Obviously not everyone is adventurous, but many players are, so the ideal MMO would give players the oppotunity and incentive to experience danger without forcing them to.
 
Tobold, apparently you've never played "Classic" EverQuest. Asking wolf to go play EverQuest (which is still running) only shows your ignorance to an important fact. The current EverQuest (with it's million expansions) is a completely different game of what EverQuest was. This is why I am NOW playing in an emu-server of EverQuest classic (Original + Kunark + Velious only). Since the day SOE took over the game started to die slowly and change drastically from its original vision and gameplay.

Also, you must also realize that EverQuest was released in 1999. Just as much as I love Baldure's Gate and think it's the best RPG created ever I wouldn't enjoy it as much because to today's standard the UI and Game Engine wouldn't play as good on my system AND it is waaay out dated. However, this doesn't prevent me from actually playing EQ classic in an emu server still! EQ is THAT good.
 
@tishtoshtesh:
On Nils' "market segmentation", Nils, are you speaking of what might otherwise be called "hardcore servers" and such with different rulesets for the same base game? Seems to me that might cut the development cost a fair bit.


I wouldn't stop here. It is not just introducing different versions of the same game.

I suggest to build the basics of one MMO with a lot of money. Then I suggest to give this framework, that has everythign but rules, to different teams.

These teams cannot add graphics, they cannot add server architecture, they cannot add animations...
But they can change the rules of the game.

That is:
- They can calibrate difficulty,
- they can calibrate reward structures,
- they can calibrate PvE/PvP,
- they can add Dungeon Finders ..
- ..

All the things that don't cost much to change.

When Blizzard talks about content, they think about adding graphics/animations to the game.

But when designers are faced with the limitations mentioned above, they will find out that story is also content. And story doesn't necessarily need much work.

Move some creatures from one point to another, make an NPC camp bigger. Make an NPC camp overtake a town. These are all examples that cost almost nothing. I wrote about it some time ago.

We need some rivalry between concepts. Not just a rivalry about who can churn out more polished 3D graphics/sounds/animation per month.


Compare it to chess:
The board and the figurines are created once. Subsequently they are given to different developer teams.
These teams will invent rules that they consider fun and eventually the teams with the best rules will have the most players. In capitalism this works especially good if you allow the different teams to charge different amounts of money for their games using different payment methodes.

Some teams will think that making chess easy to win against a computer is the best way. Another team will think that making chess all about PvP, is the best way. Another team will want to add concentrated coolness and allows all your figurines to move like queens.

We need pluralism and competition in this market. This is not only good for the consumer, but especially good for the suppliers(developers).
 
Actually, this is also a very risk-averse approach!

Much more risk-averse than making a AAA MMO instead of several smaller MMOs.
 
Tobold, apparently you've never played "Classic" EverQuest.

Laura, apparently you've never read my blog. Otherwise you'd knew that A) I played classic EQ a decade ago for 19 month, and B) I have a tendency to delete stupid troll comments which start with personal attacks instead of arguments. You have been warned!
 
Since when is wondering whether you played original EQ a personal attack?

Laura's remarks are absolutely justified. You asked Wolfshead why he doesn't play EQ, if he liked to play it back then.

One important part of the answer is that EQ has changed a lot since release. Maybe even more so than WoW. Wolfshead wrote a lot of posts about exactly that.

Your question has a simpe answer. But you do not seem to know this answer. Therefore Laure writes:
Tobold, apparently you've never played "Classic" EverQuest.

That's a perfectly justified assumption and certainly no personal attack.

Now, I have a theory, why you feel attacked, though. But the post is too old to care :)
 
Nils, do I really have to explain to you, of all people, how to troll? The "apparently you are completely ignorant of the subject matter" opening of a comment is one of the oldest troll tricks on the internet.

There is no "wondering". If somebody would wonder whether I played game X, he could simply use the search function in the upper left corner of my blog and see what I wrote about that game.

Of course MMORPGs change over time, players would complain rather loudly if they didn't. But where you, Laura, and Wolfshead are in error is in assuming that you are comparatively stable, while the MMORPG changes a lot. The opposite is a case. If you gave to a completely new player two versions of EQ from 2000 and 2010, or two versions of WoW from 2004 and 2010, the new player would have serious trouble determining the differences between the two versions.

Your theory assumes that all MMORPGs are continuously getting *worse*. Why in the world would SOE and Blizzard spend so much money for continued developing to make their games worse? In fact it is the other way around, MMORPGs continously get better, but some players (you, Laura, Wolfhead) burn out faster than the improvements can be programmed. Thus you look at the games of 2010 which you used to like when they were new, and say "oh, these games are so bad now". When in fact these games are nearly the same as they were at release, with minor improvements, and it is just the fact that you spent thousands of hours in that game and turned into a burned out and bitter cynic that you now complain about them.
 
*Sigh*

This thesis of yours is wrong, Tobold. Wrong.

What did I do in WoW2005?
I was running around the world!
Did I have a problem with it ?
No, I enjoyed it.

What did I do in WoW2010?
I was sitting around in Dalaran.
Did I like it ?
No!

the Dungeon Finder and its teleporting function were released, I said very openly that I hate it. The DF-age was a few hours old. That is no nostalgia!

Look:
There are things about WoW2010 that I like:
- Hybrids don't automatically have to heal in raids.
- The economic game is better (mostly thanks to addons)
- More stats on items; more theorycrafting.
- Spellpower. WoW2005 didn't have such a mechanic. That was silly.
- 3 different tanking classes
- More focus on one storyarc, instead of 3 storyarcs.
- More interesting quests.
- ...

Wolfshead also lists several more basic things in his post that EQNext should LEARN from WoW!

---
Your theory assumes that all MMORPGs are continuously getting *worse*.

Hey - no strawmen again, please.
I am pretty sure that Cataclysm will be better than WotlLK, for example.
 
Everquest from 99-2001 (pre-luclin) was simply amazing and just captured how a true mmo should be. There was so many factors that came into play that made the magic feel. Actually playing a class, some fear of dying, the gm events, Player driven economey was awsome!

I think the social aspect of EQ was great too was far different from todays mmo's, much more dependant on actual gameplay because you knew you could appreciate the outcome of hard work but also fun times.

This won't be created again with SOE at the throne what we need is an indie company to take those elements and create something to cater to the old school crowd and alot have failed trying to do that unfourtanly
 
What did I do in WoW2005?
I was running around the world!
Did I have a problem with it ?
No, I enjoyed it.


That is exactly my point. If you could erase your brain and start over WoW2010 with no memory of ever having played it, you would be running around the world and enjoy it. The reason that you don't run around now is not the DF, but that you got bored from running around, already knowing all the corners of the world.

Proof: Even today you can't quest without running around. It is YOU who doesn't WANT to run around any more. There is nothing in WoW which would prevent you from doing it.
 
But why did I run around less when flying mounts came and stopped completely when the DF came?

Do you have an explanation ?
 
You simply got bored of the rest of the game.

It is downright silly to claim that ONE feature, which doesn't affect 90% of the game, "destroys" WoW. The DF has zero effect on PvP. The DF has zero effect on quests. The DF has zero effect on crafting and resource gathering. The DF has minimal effect on leveling.

It is just the longer we play, the less we PLAY. We become obsessed with stupid shit like "efficiency" and "rewards". And then you end up doing the most efficient stuff in WoW, which is sitting in Dalaran and grinding heroics, and you hate it. Doh! That is a fault in YOUR brain, not in WoW's game design. It isn't the DF that keeps you from doing all the stuff that isn't even remotely affected by the DF.
 
This is, by the way, once again, the wonderful

"You don't have to click the Gimme-T11-now button. Since you do it, I assume that raiding ICC was no fun for you"

kind of argument.

A major part of a game are the rules. I want to knock my head against the rules.

Give me one dice of sugar per day and I'll love it for years. Give me a house full of sugar and I'll hate sugar after one day.

Rules need to restrain me. That's what they are there for. That is what the game company is there for. That's what I pay them for: To invent good rules.

To argue that I should make my own rules and just walk, instead of fly/teleport is hypocritcal.
 
Tobold, you know that players optimze the fun out of it. I know you know it.

Do you blame the players for that?

I mean, if it wasn't the responsibility of the game developer to restrain the players, why can't we make lvl 80 at start? Why can't I have the best equipment with a click? Why can't I have gold cap with a click? Why can't I have a gladiator title with a click?

BECAUSE I'D CLICK THE BUTTON

Because I optimize the fun out of it. The developers need to restrain me from doing this.

If the first move in chess could be to take the queen and rush the enemy king, chess would be a bad game. The argument that you shouldn't do it if you want to have fun is absurd.

Good games don't allow the players to optimize the fun out of it.

Also in vanilla WoW did I want to reach my destination ASAP. If you had given me a teleport-to-dungeon button I'd clicked it. And then had had less fun.

That's human nature. We are not made to solve problem the hardest way possible. We are made to try to solve them the easiest way possible. That's what creates flow, that's what feels like fun.

Erm. Sry for double post. Would be nice if you told me that you agree at least a little bit. Otherwise I might lose my believe in humanity :)
 
"I think you are wrong there, because it is YOU who is basing his definition of "better" on something which is individual and subjective. Objectively I can define "better" as "giving more utility to the maximum number of users". You don't necessarily have to be included in that "maximum number of users" for that statement to be true."

You can't objectively define something YOUR way. If you believe that words have objective meaning (which I don't and I think I may actually have been proven correct in this belief already) then there is ONE objective meaning for each word. The fact that myself and others have a meaningful and substantial disagreement about what "better" means suggests that "better" is subjective--at least in practice.

This could easily turn into a philosophical debate which has no place on this blog, though, so perhaps we should leave it here that we disagree on the meanings of "better" and "objective". (It's also not particularly relevant to your post.)
 
FFXI did a lot of what he said. It was probably the closest spiritual successor to the classic EQ style of gameplay.

It also was hard, divisive, drove a lot of people, and languished in obscurity. He wants level to be meaningful? Beating COP in FFXI was meaningful. Group based? Reputation matters? They did it.

While it was good, it shows the flaws of his approach. FFXI lost a lot of people, and really only survived due to a large captive market of console users and japanese players. It broke lives (funny, he never remembers how EQ addiction was a part of the early experience due to the huge time sink aspect) and had as many if not more problems as WoW.

It can work in part, but these days I think people are just too gaming fatigued. I don't think I could survive a game like that anymore.
 
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