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  1. #1
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    An MMORPG without the persistent world is just an ORPG to me...

    The whole point of the MMORPG genre was to play an RPG in a world with thousands of other people. Without that you're just playing an RPG with online components, it isn't persistent without a world and it isn't massive without the ability to have thousands of people in one area.

    Now the genre used to be about delivering this experience and I loved every MMO that came out, they were all so innovative, pushing the boundaries and so different from each other. They were about the world first, because that is what holds the genre together, it is what keeps people to stay and makes you feel pride in everything you do. If you're always in your own instance, suddenly the things you do just don't matter as much any more, it is like playing a SP RPG and not being able to have any impact on the world or not being able to show all your stuff off.

    World of Warcraft happened in 2004 and it delivered that experience perfectly. You had this big open seamless world, you had to travel on Griffins, run or by boat and the zone transitions were just so seamless and amazing, they were always a big event. The world was dangerous as well, you couldn't just run through trains of mobs and expect to be alive, you actually feared exploring a bit. If you were on a PVP server then you had to be even more on edge as it added this dynamic gameplay to the PVE experience and made it less tedious.

    I remember city raids every weekend, the constant fights between Tarren Mill and South Shore and stuff like mind controlling people off into the lava as a Priest when in Shadowmeld. You'd have higher level players protect lower level player zones, there was no hand holding beyond 20 and so the players had to work together, lots of content needed more than one player and you could even kill enemy guards and quest givers...

    WoW used to be an amazing world experience, but it has long since killed off that world, going for this instant travel hub based game experience like Diablo or Guild Wars. At this point the world is dead, there is barely any point to go through it and there are so many UI systems in place for instant travel to instances, it feels like you're always in a smaller instance. Battlegrounds killed world PVP, then flying mounts with the stupidly low draw distance was the final nail in the coffin. No one fights in the world any more, there is no point in world PVP servers...

    This is how every MMO is these days, TESO took the best part of TES series (the open non linear world) and threw it away. Instead it is a linear path throughout the game, you cannot see enemy factions, there is no world PVP and you just feel like you have your hand held throughout. SWTOR decided it would have small linear planets, the only slightly open one was Tatooine which I managed to find world PVP on, however they had Fleet Stations which killed the world. We have these big Capital cities they could have used, but no they copied and pasted these boring stations that are their own instance not in the world and everyone stands in them all day. What is the point when you can instantly war to everything from them? What was the point of making those capital cities in the first place? They're dead...

    Every single "MMO" has just gone backwards, I was thinking back in 2004 that I cannot wait to see what tech brings us in the future. If we had games like EVE and SWG delivering those massive open sandbox experiences, SWG with player cities seamlessly out in the world, I just couldn't wait to see what we'd have in 2014. Sadly what we have is a bunch of instanced based hub games where the MM has been taken out and all we're left with is ORPG and not even very good ones at that. Basically instead of what we had with bunch of MMOs all feeling very different, we just have this standard WoW clone base that everyone sticks to.


    To me the genre has been dead for the best part of 10 years, WoW was the last one I liked... but sadly this trend of dumbing down, making everything more convenient and listening to ignorant players has led to this bullshit we have today. The main new feature seems to be fully voiced acted... EQ2 was fully voice acted in 2004 and it did a better job. You'd have NPCs call you out while running along and you'd have dialogue options in real time. For some reason now when you're in the world the NPCs are silent, they only talk when they put you into a little cutscene.. I say cutscene, normally it is two characters standing there while the camera changes.... at that point just do it how EQ2 did it please.

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node DevinSmoth's Avatar
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    Pretty sure EVE Online is still a thing.

    And this just sounds like a "QQ things aren't hardcore enough anymore" post... of which there are tons out there. Just saying...

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Funny how Dark Souls brought the wide open world of griefing to something ostensibly single player and all the care bears in mmo ville shy from it.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Funny how Dark Souls brought the wide open world of griefing to something ostensibly single player and all the care bears in mmo ville shy from it.
    I like competitive games now and then, but can't we allow people have their experiences the way they want without insulting them?

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node DevinSmoth's Avatar
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    I've never thought that Care Bears is an insult, actually... just a term for a type of player. I've considered myself a care bear except for the fact that I don't care how other people play, as long it doesn't affect me. ;P

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevinSmoth View Post
    I've never thought that Care Bears is an insult, actually... just a term for a type of player. I've considered myself a care bear except for the fact that I don't care how other people play, as long it doesn't affect me. ;P
    It's pretty clearly intended as an insult in most contexts, but like most PvPer comments it just further reinforces why we don't want to spend our free time playing a game with them.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    It's pretty clearly intended as an insult in most contexts, but like most PvPer comments it just further reinforces why we don't want to spend our free time playing a game with them.
    *bares teeth*

    Hisssssssssss!
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    *bares teeth*

    Hisssssssssss!
    *pats Helio on the head*

    Seriously though, it's interesting that you see an epidemic of PvP pushback. As previously stated, the popularity of the Dark Souls model concerns me, but until/unless it begings intruding into games I actually care about it's easy enough to just avoid those games that include it.

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node DevinSmoth's Avatar
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    Yeah... Dark Souls has been too hardcore for me so far... one of these days, I swear I'm going to beat that game... but at this point, I can't even get past the skeletons in the graveyard... I'm bad.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Go a different way, those skeletons are lethal, bring something blunt too.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    You miss understand. Care bears want to crush all opposition to their anti-PvP agenda. I like single player, and coop, I play with friends and with matchmaking randoms. To Care bears it's not good enough that you have the option to lack human opponents, they demand it.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Any RPG without persistence kind of sucks by design. Online or offline, if I can't make decisions that affect the world than I can't imagine having much fun in an RPG.

  13. #13
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    If the world isnt changing daily, based in part on player actions or lack thereof, then an MMO is pointless. Dynamic content and a shifting, changing world are in my mind necessary components of an online world. If the combined actions of players are not influencing the dynamic shifting of the world on a daily basis, then, yeah...all you have is thousands of players playing an always-online, single player RPG.

    You know, the thing they would bitch about having to do if you didnt cleverly disguise this fact by calling it an MMO.

  14. #14
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    I've droned-on about this a few times but I think there's a BIT more to it than 'persistent world'

    The M of MMO is an misused as the RP of RPG - there are plenty of RPGs where you don't get to choose your role (Zelda games are the stand-out example) and there are plenty of MMOs which aren't massive.

    These days I prefer to use terms like "shared space" games, games where you share the world with other people who you could play with - or you can just continue alone but they remain a factor (stealing all your kills etc. etc.)

    That's really what an MMO is to me - a game where the 'world' is a shared space. Guild Wars doesn't do this but I never really consider it an MMO anyway (it's co-op mechanics are identical to Diablo 2 and that's not an MMO is it?)

    World persistence tho - it's a bit trick and VERY few games do it to a meaningful degree - and I'd argue that when it really exercised to the max, it can spoil things. I forget the name of that game which they cancel whilst it's creator was 'in space' but in that game you could take a quest and by the time you went back to hand-it-in, the quest giver was in enemy terrirory. That was just a pain-in-the-ass.

    Similarly, using WoW's phasing stuff you can "change the world" but it's usually a one-way-street - it may be the 'same world' to the imagination (and even the designer) but to you it's just a new level entirely...

  15. #15
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    Nitpick: Why would "Role-playing" imply you get to select the role you wish to play? I think fundamentally it means playing a role that is not yourself. Playing a game where you are a fixed character archetype is just as much roleplaying as playing a game where you get to pick every single skill you may do.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FriendlyFire View Post
    Nitpick: Why would "Role-playing" imply you get to select the role you wish to play? I think fundamentally it means playing a role that is not yourself. Playing a game where you are a fixed character archetype is just as much roleplaying as playing a game where you get to pick every single skill you may do.
    If you remove the choice of "choose a character/party" aspect, all games are RPGs... ;0

  17. #17
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    Not really. Every RPG, be they with a fixed archetype or not, let you progressively gain new abilities and skills. Those are often choices you need to make that'll shape where your character will go. In contrast, non-RPGs will generally have either no progression whatsoever or the progression will be linear, without any meaningful way of altering your character's abilities.

  18. #18
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    Persistence is interesting to me. As some may know, I used to run a small scale multiplayer online roleplaying game, aka one of the more popular germanspeaking Neverwinter Nights Servers. Now this isn't anywhere near massive multiplayer, but a lot of the conventions and ideas of something like Ultima Online, were taken into NWN Multiplayer.
    Now, Persistence. This is a funny thing. We used to do that, offer it as a service to our players basically. You torch a house in the gameworld and a gamemaster sees it - when you come back tomorrow, it's gone. We've taken it out of the module and replaced it with a smoldering ruin. You poisoned a well, congratulations douchebag, everyone drinking from the well is now suffering from poison in the city.

    However, and this is why I say it's interesting to me, players rejected this idea of persistence. The vast majority never made use of it. A road was blocked by a few boulders? Well, guess we've just got to take the long 1h way around through the elven kingdom instead. Want your own house but there isn't a free one? Meh, guess nothing can be done about that. They held all ig government positions, able to change and shape their city, yet they never deviated from the initial pre-established schematic we had laid out to kickstart things. They were most happy with consistency. Each deviation from this consistency was witnessed as noise. Too much noise and they got extremely grumpy. Basically they had the power to shape a fantasy world but instead they wanted a static fantasy world where they couldn't accidently influence anything. A world that acts the same expected way everytime you interact with it.
    This made me question if that isn't the real reason why we don't see that much persistence in games anymore. It seems there's a stronger apetite for things to stay the same and Conquest, PVP, murder and property theft like in UO are all things that don't fit into that.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theForged View Post
    Persistence is interesting to me. As some may know, I used to run a small scale multiplayer online roleplaying game, aka one of the more popular germanspeaking Neverwinter Nights Servers. Now this isn't anywhere near massive multiplayer, but a lot of the conventions and ideas of something like Ultima Online, were taken into NWN Multiplayer.
    Now, Persistence. This is a funny thing. We used to do that, offer it as a service to our players basically. You torch a house in the gameworld and a gamemaster sees it - when you come back tomorrow, it's gone. We've taken it out of the module and replaced it with a smoldering ruin. You poisoned a well, congratulations douchebag, everyone drinking from the well is now suffering from poison in the city.

    However, and this is why I say it's interesting to me, players rejected this idea of persistence. The vast majority never made use of it. A road was blocked by a few boulders? Well, guess we've just got to take the long 1h way around through the elven kingdom instead. Want your own house but there isn't a free one? Meh, guess nothing can be done about that. They held all ig government positions, able to change and shape their city, yet they never deviated from the initial pre-established schematic we had laid out to kickstart things. They were most happy with consistency. Each deviation from this consistency was witnessed as noise. Too much noise and they got extremely grumpy. Basically they had the power to shape a fantasy world but instead they wanted a static fantasy world where they couldn't accidently influence anything. A world that acts the same expected way everytime you interact with it.
    This made me question if that isn't the real reason why we don't see that much persistence in games anymore. It seems there's a stronger apetite for things to stay the same and Conquest, PVP, murder and property theft like in UO are all things that don't fit into that.

    We tried another tactic in the PW I helped run in NWN2 (The setting was an untamed frontier, so we wanted players to 'build' a new community). We opened part of our forum for players to document their in-game projects and we basically gave them hints on how to progress and DM support. Say you want to build a temple for your god, we'd play the shipping contacts they'd need to bring in resources and they'd role-play the aspects of trying to put together the project and use the forums to document the bits that didn't require a DM. A slightly more engaging example is that we had a starter dungeon populated by kobolds and we had factions trying to wipe them out entirely, and others trying to make peace with them etc.

    But what I felt was that players would start to take on 'worthy' projects or what I call 'dull as fuck' projects concerning incredible mundanity. You'd get people who would roleplay digging a ditch for hours to try and get kudos and DM attention and no-one really wants to spend their time overseeing a fantasy construction site for hours on end. So we get people engaging with persistence but on a basically unimaginative level. Obviously it wasn't all like that and we got mage guilds,. trading outposts etc set up by the players. But we also got dozens of forum thread where players were basically talking in depth and detail about putting up a wooden shack, which required a pretty ridiculous time investment from the people running the server. Persistence on a large scale is hard even when you have sub-100 people who play regularly.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jockie View Post
    We tried another tactic in the PW I helped run in NWN2 (The setting was an untamed frontier, so we wanted players to 'build' a new community). We opened part of our forum for players to document their in-game projects and we basically gave them hints on how to progress and DM support. Say you want to build a temple for your god, we'd play the shipping contacts they'd need to bring in resources and they'd role-play the aspects of trying to put together the project and use the forums to document the bits that didn't require a DM. A slightly more engaging example is that we had a starter dungeon populated by kobolds and we had factions trying to wipe them out entirely, and others trying to make peace with them etc.

    But what I felt was that players would start to take on 'worthy' projects or what I call 'dull as fuck' projects concerning incredible mundanity. You'd get people who would roleplay digging a ditch for hours to try and get kudos and DM attention and no-one really wants to spend their time overseeing a fantasy construction site for hours on end. So we get people engaging with persistence but on a basically unimaginative level. Obviously it wasn't all like that and we got mage guilds,. trading outposts etc set up by the players. But we also got dozens of forum thread where players were basically talking in depth and detail about putting up a wooden shack, which required a pretty ridiculous time investment from the people running the server. Persistence on a large scale is hard even when you have sub-100 people who play regularly.
    Very interesting. Your point of view makes me wonder if people aren't secretly looking for something more akin to Second Life. Some of the people certainly played more than enough hours to make it their first life. And that might also explain why they act so... passive or even hostile towards actual change or consequences to their actions: It's simply a threat on their established life.

    Your attempts at persistence seem to have been a bit more succesful than ours. Your approach seems a bit more, passive (but not in a negative way), by offering a platform for these things outside of the game. Perhaps our direct approach within the game was already witnessed as an outright attack on their stable little corner of their world and even simply being online to see these things meant an intrusion in privacy. That'd fit if it's the whole alternate life thing.

    If even a bit of that translates onto larger communities, that might explain why persistence of actions got so unpopular. Fear of loss, fear of intrusion, lack of privacy in their own sheltered niche within online worlds. Yeah, persistence on a large scale must be a real nightmare to manage and probably requires a PR team or two to deal with. It's already a nightmare on a small scale.

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