I got 99 problems but a Zerg ain’t one.

Yesterday’s discussion took a decided turn towards zergs and a point was brought up that I really want to expound a little upon.  In a game like Dark Age of Camelot, or any PvP game with open world PvP without limitations on numbers, zergs naturally creep up.  It’s the pack mentality or something natural that drives us all to each other for protection or joint strength.  Throughout history battles played out in fantasy or reality are done in large numbers.  It is absolutely unavoidable.   Zergs aren’t entirely bad.

Zergs allow players to just jump in and participate.  In fact, despite some of the hate out there for zergs, if you really think hard about it you’ll realize what would happen if they weren’t possible.  PvP would sprout somewhere and… what if you couldn’t just go join?  Would it be limited to a certain number of players? Uh, that’s a battleground.  It’s just natural, so embrace it.  My greatest memories, like those recounted in yesterday’s comments, happened when we had numbers beyond count converging on our castle and we tried to defend it against all odds.  Those memories would not be as epic as they are if I didn’t look out over the walls and see literally hundreds of enemies setting up catapults, climbing over the walls, smashing against the doors, and lobbing arrows and spells into our courtyard.

There are so many other problems to worry about in MMO’s and PvP.  Stuns, class balance (which often is tossed out in zergs, but I digress), CC, zone control mechanics, etc., all bother me much more than seeing my fellow players around me preparing for battle.  It’s a matter of supporting the numbers.  DAOC supported something like 400+ people at a time and the keep siege mechanics did not break because of it.  WAR, however, buckled under the pressure of the numbers and not just from a lag perspective.  WoW ‘s Tol Barad and Wintergrasp do not support the zerg because the mechanics of the zone can not handle it.

To hammer home the main point, Zergs can definitely be bad but on the whole they are not a core issue with world PvP.   If the rest of the game works then they’re actually a bonus and improve the fun.  I would rather have a battle of two hundred than a battle of twenty.  What do you guys think?  Do you see my point about zergs not being a primary issue with PvP?  And more abstractly, can some of you see how they can be a good thing?

  • Another feature of DAoC’s Zergs, was that the Realm was a community. There was often a Realm leading alliance, or a coordination of alliances.

    There were players in the game, who anyone who RVRed at least once a week new by name, sometimes even their alts. These players had a part-time game leading the realm and coordinating the fight against the enemy. You even knew players from the other realm, their guilds, alliances, the guild emblems.

    You knew if you saw that players name, the zerg wasn’t far behind. If you saw their guild in a group, you knew it was going to be a serious night, and more than one group, you knew something was up.

    Moreso, many of these alliances had “bottom feeding gankers” who would also function as scouts. They’d report the above kind of “suspicious activity”, and the leaders of these alliances would spread the word and a defense of the realm would be organised.

    The PVP moments I cherish most were when all 3 realms were involved, and 4-600 people were in a single zone. Or at a single keep. A sudden muster of the realm based on a scouting report of a hib zerg in albion causing 200 mids to converge at the BK in albion and then hitting the hib zerg once the inner doors were down and stealing the relic, or camping their MG (leading to truly epic battles, trying to hold the doors from attacks from both sides).

  • Fundamentally the problem is that zergs diminish individual contribution and tend to become a case of more numbers = win.
    Sure if the games supported Generals and other leadership mechanic then the new game comes into play: larger strategies as well as small unit tactics.
    At the moment leadership is just typing or venting – the games could use map marking etc.

    I never did play DAOC but I very much regret that as my first WoW guild were mainly DAOC veterans who talked long and often about the great times they had there.

  • A players individual contribution is only diminished if they choose for it to be that way. That was the best part about DAoC, you didn’t have to be a member of the zerg. If a zerg was happening that meant something was left undefended.

    My DAoC guild would often rally our realm into a zerg in one frontier then our guild would leave the zerg to devour that area while we went and stole a keep. We choose to matter. The more you play DAoC and in some ways WAR the more you come to realize a good leader on vent is more important than a good raid leader in a PvE game. Real world military tactics apply. Fients, ambushes, all that fun stuff work. As one of the few people in my DAoC and WAR guilds who was in the military I was always giving advise based on what we do and it seemed to help.

  • @Canuckde: Dangit, you brought back a wave of memories. The Fist of the North Alliance on Percival was awesome. So many fond femories there. And everything you said is exactly how it was for my server — exactly. I knew so many people even if only by recognizing their name and I knew what to expect from my enemy based upon just seeing them. Great, great times.

    @Intruder: The sad part is that what you say is true of today, but false about the past. In DAOC the zergs did cater to a numbers game, but with skill and CC a group of 16 could take out a group of 50. Also, leadership worked quite well and we listened to respected leaders who became leaders based upon nothing but their ability to inspire and lead large groups effectively.

    @Epiny: I was once apart of a flanking squad of 50 that came in behind a force trying to take a keep. Our job wasn’t to stop them from taking it but to make them think we were there to try while our main forces actually went and wiped up an entirely different frontier. We took three for their one due to the simple strategy.

  • Zergs are unavoidable, the key is having the space to avoid them. In most of WAR’s zones, they are just too small. I’ve heard DAoC is much larger, which certainly helps.

    Starting out small and escalating is another key factor. Again, with WAR it is kinda start huge end huge, which takes away the personal aspect of the fight.

    There is small scale combat to have (and large, 200v200+ is common and supportable now), but not as much as I’d like.

  • @Werit: If I had to completely pull a number out of the air I would estimate that DAOC’s Frontiers were roughly 30-50x the size of all available RvR lakes in WAR. That was a huge factor for sure.

    Beyond size, how keeps were taken, why keeps were taken, and the reasons for being in the Frontiers differed greatly from WAR. And as Epiny pointed out, you didn’t have to zerg if you didn’t want to because they were so large you could avoid them and cause serious trouble too.

  • They discourage small-scale PvP in many games. In EVE if you see local spike with 30 people you hide in station or bug out. If you are unlucky, you get nailed on a gate camp with 20 people and literally no chance of escape. There are no real advantages in MMOs to defeat numbers: if you can use CC so can they, and a lot more effectively because they have more CCers.

    You are assuming all large-scale battles will happen between equal forces. That’s not often the case.

  • Keen,

    Come on man, just get out there and make DAoC 2 (or its spiritual successor) for us!

    In regards to the zerg topic, I don’t think anyone has mentioned DAoC’s alliance system. I think it was great, and could have been a precursor to something amazing with some additions and tweaks. It allowed guilds to coordinate and communicate together in helping conduct raids or realm defense. Alliances often had their own websites and forums and you could see on the Camelot Herald which alliances were most active in RvR and/or had the most kills/keeps claimed, etc. It also allowed you to have that small guild, but still associate with a larger network of other like-minded folks to participate in other more “zergy” affairs such as dragon raids or relic attack and defense.

    Reading these posts has made me consider logging back in to Uthgard or resubbing again. I honestly believe I would still be playing DAoC if not for some of the expansion foibles and the general lack of updating/bug fixing from Mythic. There are still hosts of bugs around like ghosting that I can’t believe they never fixed.

    Also, after having played WoW, the current DAoC UI system is an arcane relic that has no place in an MMO today. If they would have updated that, new players might actually stick around long enough to see the amazing game that is there if you look hard enough. In addition, older players having come back from being spoiled by the UIs of next-gen games like EQ2 or WoW (but otherwise dissatisfied by the gameplay or lack of PvP options) wouldn’t be put off as well. However, I remember reading that Mythic developers always have had a hard time fixing things because the code was never properly documented and/or annotated. That explained a lot actually.

    Reading all of this has also refueled my feelings of deep disappointment with WAR, but I won’t get into that.

    I want to feel the rush again of yelling FOR MIDGARD! (in my head or via text, of course) while rushing across a field of snow and blood to meet my enemy in mortal combat to take what is his or expel him from my lands.

  • as soon as you start to cap the number of players for reasons other than server stability, you are creating a battleground.

  • @DBlade that is the point of 3 player controlled factions. When one force becomes too strong the other two band together. Think of what ever MMO you play, WoW, WAR, Aion, whatever just any MMO with two factions. Now take the smaller faction and imagine if there were two of them… that could work together to take down the bigger one. Of course this alliance would only last so long before you turn on each other because of a power shift or out of sheer bordem.

    That was a HUGE factor in balancing the game. When Mythic announced that they would only have 2 realms alot of people said this was a bad idea, and it proved to be. Aion’s PvP is lack luster, the computer is not equiped to be your 3rd faction. WoW doesn’t even try to bother with open world PvP, they just cap the amount of people permitted in a zone.

  • @Dblade: Actually, I’m not assuming that at all. 99% of the time the battles are not even. You’ve overlooked everything said here about strategy and the ability to overcome zergs.

    @Balthazar: Either I win the lotto or I get hired. Only way it will happen. The alliance system was excellent.

    I too would have never quit if not for one of the expansions messing it up. There’s also my cake analogy: A delicious chocolate cake is great until it’s been sitting out on the counter for five years.

  • I think the dev’s struggle with the modeling.

    In actual “War”, it’s not about having fun. It’s about winning. That’s it. You take objectives. If having 10x the number of guys means you do that quicker, then so be it.

    Somewhere along the line though, people started complaining that it wasn’t overly fun to be smashed over and over again by an overwhelming, unbalanced force.

    So the dev’s started looking at different models.. and so decided to start modelling PVP on “Sport”. Good “Sports” are very well balanced. The goal is to keep the playing field as even as possible, so all things being equal, the “better” opponent wins.

    However, the trade off for this more balanced “sport-like” approach is the loss of spontaneous PVP. You lose out on the moments like the ones Keen was describing.

    I’m keen to see what PVP in Guildwars 2 ends up looking like and if they experiment with a more “free form” PVP style.

    At the end of the day, every game ever created is forced to make compromises. What looks cool on paper just doesn’t always play out well when it’s finally put into practice.

  • The community in DAOC was just awesome. I knew so many people from Percival by name – enemies and fellow realmates alike. The kill messages contributed to it quite a bit..it is a small feature but so important.

    In 5 years of playing WOW on Boulderfist…besides the people that are in my guild or who I know perosnally…I couldnt name one person that plays on Boulderfist…I havent heard of “anyone”…

    Erebus, Kobra, Vilna, Olaf, Demondrega, Roland (look at that damage), Milric, Cinamon and Sinamon, Slaight, dang…that super tough Mid that killed everyone when we all were still level 20-25…the list could go on forever…amazing community…

  • One thing I will always remember when facing zergs in DAOC was being able to setup small gank groups and pick off stragglers and reinforcements rallying to the keep. It was so fun the small skirmishes away from the main siege and it provided a huge tactical play for our side defending to slow them down.

    Also notorious well known rogues and archers from all 3 realms would be all over the place picking people off… So many good times. It’s also true as mentioned when you would see a ‘famous’ name in chat who got a kill out there.. a little bit of fear would creep into you running around alone!

    I don’t think any game will ever bring that back.

  • I understand why some like it and consider it fun, but Zerging does in no way shape or form promote skillful play. And after having gone thru 7+ seasons of comptetitive Arena play on WoW, I can claim without a doubt I would never ever ever ever play a zerg based warfront MMO like WAR or DAoC again. Now open PvP in a UO style, or AC Darktide style of setting is skillful and would indeed play that.

    I do agree that Battlegrounds are horrible but there has to be a way to promote comptetitive PvP in a non-zerg atmposphere but I dont know how, so untill then im stuck with Warfronts/Battlegrounds style of PvP.

  • Zerging gives the masses something to do, those looking for a challenge can either work around the zerg (take a keep and defend from the zerg?) or the really good teams, would 8-man the zerg (generally at the MG).

  • I agree.
    In fact, one of the unfortunate ways that WoW developed is the elitist segregation. If people feel too skilled to play together with other players it hurts the game.

    This is connected with the ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ philosophy that I otherwise support in games. So it is a difficult topic.

  • What do you think the pros and cons of a guild vs guild system like darkfalls and shadowbanes and a faction/realm system like daoc?

  • A zerg does take a certain level of organization and preparation to build. Its not a clan that can just be put together with a few friends. It takes some diplomacy and active recruiting effort. provides a place for noobs early on and somewhere for them to pop their cherry.

    Plus in alot of open world game, a zerg is important for a sustained conflict.

    a scenario pvp match is nice. But it takes away huge section of tactically planning preparation and strategy and leaves only the fight.

    Think of how boring all the wars in the world would be to read about if they were happened only in scenario fashion.

  • Alas I wish you were on Galahad, I would have loved to clash forces with you. Albion Armsman here! I frequently solod and took on the role of a scout, but my name was most widely known for leading PvE raids and hitting stupidly hard in pvp. I frequently clashed with many of the big name mids and hibs on the server in one on one fights, both of us buffbotted, with our RR heal spells, we’d keep backing off to heal.

    Then one of our sides groups would show up to save us, it was great.

    I also had a unique motif of being in ALL royal purple (I even used a special royal purple cloak which NO dye could match), so I was easily recognizable, and with a name “Danath DiesAlot”. I also frequently ran with some of the big name guilds on the servers when I did group content… and man, I LOVED those epic 100+ people battles, it makes me really dissapointed in Wintergrasp/Tol Barad. The community in wow just doesn’t exist like in DAoC, I MISS those calls “HIBS IN FRONTIER, DEFEND KEEPS”, and suddenly a 6 hour long battle would commence while we defended, pushed back, went to Emain, took their keeps, then got backstabbed by mids, then I had to logoff, come back later, fight is STILL going on.

    Amazing times.

  • @Jay P: That is currently being debated.

    @Danath: Those memories seem common to most DAOC players. That says something.

  • @Branith
    I completely disagree that Zergs don’t promote skill. All squad and group based tactics for the US Military, regardless of size, are based off the “Blue Book”. The Blue Book essentially teaches you that all movements at the individual level are important for moving mass groups in an organized fashion. There are two kinds of Zergs, the organized and the unorganized. Yes an unorganized Zerg requires less skill to be a part of, but it also falls to a much smaller number of organized enemies. This can be seen by the anecdotal stories of about 16 people killing 50 in DAoC. An unorganized Zerg typically fails so it has no major impact on events.

    An organized Zerg requires every person in the group to understand the goal of the group and their role in the group. They are expected to perform their roles skillfully and support one another. They must listen and execute the commands of the leader in order to be a true force of destruction. Perhaps Zerg is a bad name for this. Though to be fair the Zerg in StarCraft are a very organized army with a strict command structure. Simply being a part of this army isn’t enough. I have to know how to play my class or else I’m just a liability as I will draw the finite resources away from the group to keep me alive.

    I would like to add though that both types of Zergs are crucial to an open world PvP game. The unorganized Zerg allows anyone to jump into combat and gives the organized people something to easily slaughter. After you die in a few unorganized Zergs you start to organize them, or look for an organized one.

    I hate WoW Arenas. I think the small scale combat in WoW really emphasizes the imbalances of the classes in regards to PvP. That being said I recognize that it takes skill to compete at a high level there.

    For the record I primary played a Dwarf Healer named Basho Xiaou in DAoC, no idea what server. I also played a Thane a little bit.

  • Oh I wanted to add that in our 8 man groups, since I was the healer, they made me wear bright colors and walk around in open as bait. I kept my shield out in an effort to block the incoming attack but typically I died, then my group killed someone. Good times. 🙂

  • zergs were mops, they’d gather up all the extras and move ’em together. Without them, no space for 8s to run, and adds would be everywhere. Without zergs the pvp system in DAoC would not have worked.

  • @Danath

    I played Midgard Galahad and was in the Shadow Gypsies guild. We were really active RvR-wise, especially early on in release and through the Shrouded Isles days. Mance was a great GM and RvR leader, I’da followed him anywhere.

    I’m trying to remember all the big Midgard RvR guilds back then we were in various alliances with: Core, Knightwatch, Black Company, Mithril Circle, Black Thorn. Plenty of others I can’t recall. Swiftdeathz was a hunter and the Midgard RP leader forever early on. I remember feeling very reassured when I’d see his killspam in the frontier I was in.

    Only big Alb guilds I can remember right now are Stout and Hoss. However, Rageous, Telwelas, Triel, Ravager, Speed, Tacopants were some Alb/Hib names that always gave me pause.

    You Albs were good and definitely had the population advantage on us, but it made the victories we had against you that much sweeter.

  • – i haven’t read all the comments so this might not flow well in the conversation but i think my points are very important (naturally i would).

    Zergs are perfectly fine and quite fun under 2 circumstances.

    first, when the 2 zergs are of roughly equal size AND there are mechanics in place similar to a cavalry charge or tactical air strike that allow for 1 of the zergs to break the stalemate and actually make progress… 2 zergs of equal size will likely degenerate into a stalemate unless there are mechanics in place to break that stalemate.. without these mechanics, even similarly sized zergs are incredibly boring and unfun.

    second, when the attacking zerg outnumbers the defending zerg but the defending zerg has some sort of “high ground” advantage… without mechanics in place to provide the defenders with some sort of “high ground” advantage, this turns into a foregone conclusion and a very unfun encounter.

    this being said, the simplest and most effective way to make tol barad more fun and balanced is simply to allow the attackers to have 10-20% more players than the defenders… this helps balance the zone, since right now the defenders already have a “high ground” advantage… and makes the entire zone more fun for both sides.

    more WoW references… if you remember back when Alterac Valley came out, blizz tried to incorporate these “cavalry charge” type moves with the faction heroes that could be summoned through turn-ins and repeatable quests… these heroes worked well to break a zerg and move the pile so things didn’t degenerate into stalemates… the problem was that the rewards system was structured poorly… which resulted in people ignoring the cool stuff in AV and just trying to win (or lose) as quickly as possible to get their points.

    i really wish they would bring back the old style AV as a rated battleground where teams would actually be able to use strategy and tactics to win.

    the only thing wrong with blizz’s implementation of the AV heroes was that they weren’t able to be controlled by players… they just did their own thing and players couldn’t use the heroes how they wished… if instead after you completed enough repeatable quests or turn-ins a giant shredder became available that a player could pilot, then that would afford much more tactical and strategic control to the players… this wouldn’t work well in regular battlegrounds because players are too selfish and wouldn’t use the shredder for the good of the team… maybe a solution would be to make it so that players don’t gain any honor while in the shredder, this way the selfish players would stay away, and only players who have the team’s best interests at heart would want to control the shredders.

    another reason why zergs are terrible in WoW is the way you can be snared/stunned/cc’ed while mounted… if the effects of these were reduced significantly while mounted AND mounts had some sort of trample/charge/attack ability, it would make cavalry charges possible where a group could mount up and break through a large group of unmounted enemies… now this would take some thought to implement correctly without making it too powerful… the way mounts are handled would have to be changed drastically… but it’s things like this that make zergs actually fun.. for both sides.

    sorry this is so long, but i’ve thought about this kind of stuff a lot and put the above thoughts to good use in the MMO i’m armchair designing… but i don’t want to give too much away 🙂

  • @Balthazar
    Haha some of those guild names sound familiar… I think I may have played Mid on that server. I remember when DAoC first came out Albs out numbered Mids like 2-1 and Hib had nearly no people. Mids and Albs declared a truce with Hib until they caught up in people/levels.

  • @Balthazar

    I frequently ran with Hoss/Stout and IC (Immortal Crusaders), mostly IC, despite being in a no name guild myself (we had something like 6 members total). Damn you mids! I wish I could remember the names of the people I fought… A really popular shadowblade, zerker, and a skald came up frequently, must… remember… names. You’ll note I only mention melees, cause as an Armsman if I ran into a caster, my head asploded pretty fast if they didn’t let me run up to them.

    Swiftdeathz once complained on a forum cause I almost slaughtered him and when he killed me he got a message saying I was rez sick, good times. IC guild leader Lorrix linked me that post way back when.


    I loved hibbies, Me and a Lurikeen … Infiltrator? Nightblade? The stealth class once fought to a standstill, then proceeded to have a dance off before bowing to each other and wandering away. We ran into each other fairly often, he knew my hiding spots when I solo scouted.

    I quit around the time people were doing ML10, got burned out on the ToA ML raids since I was leading them all the time.

    Good memories, wish I was better with names though D:

  • @Balthazar
    Hola was one, but not the one I was thinking of, was a female human SB, name started with an F I believe, was pretty high RR… can’t remember much else, this was a long, long time ago.

    I didn’t run into Hola much one on one, if I did he was in a stealth assassin group and I got slaughtered quickly.

  • “It’s the pack mentality or something natural that drives us all to each other for protection or joint strength.”

    It’s not pack mentality, but it something natural allright, it’s “taking the path of least resistance to get my shiney epics”. Humans are lazy by nature and most are not looking for a challenge, only rewards.
    (yes I posted something similar in your previous post, just finished reading that and started this).

  • There done reading 😛 Now for my comment on Zergs.
    To me zergs are ALL bad. Period.
    Yes it allows me to jump in whenever I feel like it but what good is it when I’m not having fun?
    I like to feel the importance of my performance in PvP, I like to feel that we either won or lost because of my timing of some CC or interrupt. This I cannot feel in zergs, there’s too many and I feel like it would basically not matter at all to the outcome of the battle if I just logged off.
    This is why I hate zergs, I just don’t feel it requires skill, only numbers. (not saying there are no skilled people in zergs, just that their skill counts for far far less than if they where few vs few)

  • @Proximo
    Zerg skill is in leading it, very few people can do it effectively.. thus the phenomenon of frontiers suddenly dieing or coming to life when certain people loged in or off. You can have a completely chaotic zerg, but it gets rolled by a semi orgnazed zerg quite easily

  • Sure there’s skill in leading the zerg, but that means one out of many gets to utilize his skill.
    To me it’s the small details that makes it fun. I don’t get a kick out of winning a BG in WoW, I do however get a kick out of fighting one on one or two on two and coming out on top.
    Winning in small scale PvP is more about what ability to use when, timing CC and interrupts, heals and defensive CDs can win or loose you the match.
    That’s the kind of PvP that I find fun. Following a leader who is good at tactical play and being his AoE puppet gives me nothing. I don’t fancy leading either.

    People are looking for different things and I’m not saying “mass pvp and zergs are worthless”, it might be awesome for some. To me it just feels pointless and boring.

    Just for the record, I was in a guild on Karak Eight Peaks EU in WAR which ran regular oRvR WBs, we never ran with the BIG zerg rather stuck to ourselves and tried to fight off the zerg where we could. Our leader was great and we won several fights where we where outnumbered heavily. But it still was no fun to me, I still felt that being 1 out of 24 made my contribution minimal and I could be replaced with any keyboard turning clicker out there.

  • And for the record, I do NOT claim to be GREAT at PvP!
    But I’ll rather have a loss in PvP due to my lack of skill and poor timing than a loss from being outnumbered or outgunned.

  • @ Proximo
    To be fair in almost any PvP situation you, or anyone, could be replaced with anyone and it not affect the outcome. I think a better comparison would be that you are simply not there, and no one replaces you, in a WB of 24 and no one would notice. However in a much smaller fight your absence would be felt. I understand that.

    You don’t have to enjoy being IN the zerg to recognize that certain games, when done properly, require zergs… or atleast benefit from them. WAR is a horrible example. The PvP lakes are simply to small to house anything more than 4 Warbands, 2 Destruction 2 Order, and even that is putting the area at it’s limit. So that’s less than 100 people hitting a zones cap, more or less.

    I think most people that played DAoC and WAR can agree, with some exceptions, that Zergs were good in DAoC. They were an intregal factor in creating Realm Pride.

    Now on the argument of skill in a zerg, lets address that. A zerg… I hate that word. Okay say you are in WAR and you have a full WB. That WB comes across 1 group. Regardless of the skill of either side the zerg will win 99.99% of the time. That doesn’t mean the zerg is over powered or requires no skill though.

    Lets say two WBs meet. The one who is better organized and who’s players are better skilled WILL win. One more example. So if you say had 1 1/2 WBs fighting 2 full WBs and the smaller WB was more skilled on a individual level and better organized, they would win.

    The ONLY time being in a zerg that is not skilled is a benefit is when you GREATLY outnumber your enemy. Further more in DAoC you didn’t have to fight near the Zerg. The Frontiers were big enough to always pick off stragglers or find small conflicts. Do you think DAoC would have been able to have such a strong 8 man combat community if the Zerg beat all?

    The problem is most MMO gamers today have only played a limited number of games. From the posts I’ve seen on more than one blog, other than WoW, most haven’t played a MMO that is more than 2 years old.

  • @Epiny

    That was what made DAoC’s frontiers so great. They supported all different kinds of playstyles. You could run w/ the zerg, relic raids, keep attack or defense, go solo, do 8-man groups, gank people at the XP spots, XP yourself there, or scout out keeps and other strategic points to let your alliance or current raid leader know about it, etc.


    Okay, you don’t like zergs, we get it. I personally have found ways to enjoy all kinds of PvP. The DAoC-type I enjoy best, but I participate in WoW BGs and arena, and the occasional open-world PvP when I get the chance.

    One thing I’ve never really understood though about the folks who seem to really want that “level playing field” is, why they even play RPG-type games? It seems to me that FPS-style games are all around much better at this. No RNG, no gear discrepancies, no class imbalances, no counter-comps to worry about, no leveling, no honor farming, etc. Just something I’ve recently wondered about.

  • What I find interesting is that if DAOC was such an amazing game (I never played it, so I’m not judging), why isn’t anyone just ripping it off whole sale and throwing together a new MMO based on it?

    I mean, despite what people think, Games developers are pretty switched on guys.

    If the formula that DAOC used worked so well, it makes sense that you’d see it repeated.

    The fact that it’s *not* being repeated (much like Counter Strikes “1 death per match” mechanics have been abandoned in shooters) suggests there must be some reason they’re not using that model any more.

  • @Quietwulf

    I can honestly say I’m not sure. I think alot of developers are scared to tackle 3 full factions when most struggle to balance 2. Look at the Alliance vs Horde community, now imagine if there was a 3rd. I really think that a 3rd faction scares developers. That is why you see half hearted NPC factions being implemented to fulfill the role of a 3rd faction. (or even worse the horrible balance issues WAR faced with making unique classes for each army)

    DAoC’s model ONLY works with a PvP MMO too and that is still not something alot of developers want to focus on. They see the profit in focusing on PvE and having PvP as something to do when not doing PvE.

  • @Quietwulf: That is one of the great mysteries of the universe. And the 1 death per match mode is actually alive and well in Call of Duty’s Search and Destroy (one of the most popular and community building modes).

  • I really think the problem here is people don’t fully grasp how much room there was in DAoC frontiers. It is nothing like WAR’s RvR lakes or WoW’s BGs.

  • @Epiny Agreed. WHen I started getting good and was asked to run with Gank groups we very rarely went to Emain Macha since at least on Guinevere thats where all the action took place. Someone was always camping the Alb Milegate there. We mostly ganked in Alb frontiers since thats where the majority of 8mans went to.

  • @quietwolf Thats becasue in todays world the numbers that DAoC had for subscribers (around 300k tops if I recall) isnt worth the investment and I can pretty much guarentee that no PvP based MMO would ever pull much more then those numbers. Hence the common theme is to go with 2 factions with PvP as an after thought but build in none the less with more focus on PvE, with just enough PvP to placate the crowd.

    This isnt to say that in a 2 faction MMO that PvP in general, and World PvP in particular cant Awe inspire players.

    All it takes is a little dedication to putting out and focusing on World PvP through hubs or ‘FULL SIZE’ zones if you will that feature full time on demand combat (instead of once every 2.5 hours like Wintergrasp and Told Borad in WoW) with resource and elite group based mobs with more rare spawns and Boss mosnters like the emerald dragons of Vanilla WoW.

    These zones would have to be large and open and feature all sorts of gimmicky if you will, things like DAoC’s Darkness Falls, or non-instanced dungeons inside this PvP zone. Plus they would have to take out all manners of consensual PvP such as dueling and Instance Warfronts/Battlegrounds to force people who want to PvP into those zones but with the added benefit of being rewarded thru the above mentioned things. That is my 2 cents on the subject and if a game company could ever do that then it would prolly draw my gaming $$$’s.

  • Havent played DAoC, i do have some toughts on mater.

    1) if you allow and encourege open world unrestricted pvp(read zerg), then make sure your system supports it and accept limitation

    2) AOE, if there is zerg there needs to be strong aoe component in game, to act as equalizer – when zerg is walking that bridge let then all eat that burning oil.

    3) Body blocking (melle not usless) – this one havent been done good becouse of tech limitations, but i belive its also essential to giving melles some small advantage and purpose in zerg.

    4) Dont force or encourge ppl to group for zerg, encourge them to split off and do important stuff in unision with main force – and dont make it an erand, make it an objective (take support artilery position and man it ….).

    Reading all that Aion sunk on all 4:
    Single digit fps check, minimal aoe check, melles cannonfolder check, transformations runing in running out, artifacts – only few usfull, have cooldowns and are usless after usage.

  • @Quietwulf big part of it is how big WoW has become, it is very hard to justify doing anything else these days. No matter how many wow clones fail miserably. Second part is 3 sides(which is completely essential) hard to justify to the bin counters (who never learned game theory), requires much more investment in a theme park game.

  • @Branith

    I disagree that an MMO can’t be profitable unless it has a subscription base of over 300K. It just has to be made smarter the recent crop of MMOs that seemingly start with the assumption that if they make a game similar to WoW they’re entitled to 1 million+ subs.

    However, I do understand it might be a tougher sell to investors and the like. No one wants to make a niche game (even though 300K is not really “niche” imo), they want big numbers. Although, I gotta hope that mindset is changing given that we’ve had several big budget games recently try and fail to grab big subscription numbers.

  • @Branith: Population is relative to time. 300k in DAOC’s time was excellent. You absolutely must have an understanding of how much this industry has grown in the past six or so years before making any kind of judgment on the population of a game.

    1) 300k 6-10 years ago was a lot more, relatively, than most games have today.

    2) For as long as the older MMO’s lasted, 300k loyal for that long makes today’s standards embarrassing.

    Note: Several trumped 300k.

  • @darkassj

    if developers think of melee as point-blank spellcasters. there really isn’t any special accommodations needed. It’s going to come down to the utility and power of said classes “spells”

  • I understand 300k in 2002 was excellent but I can also assure you that 300k in todays market is not worth the effort except for maybe some small indie company who wishes to hit it big and takes the chance with their own capital.

    I can assure you no mainstream company will do a game like DAoC because as much as you hate to admit not one PvP or RvR based MMO has ever garnered the subscriptions worthy of investor capital, especially in todays economy which is liekly to stay this bad for the next several years.

  • Vigil gamings has said that they are builing their game around the idea that they wont get 1 million subs. They said that if they get anywhere near 1 million they are going to be making loads of money. Their production cost is on par with a single player AAA game.

    So hitting 300k is still very good in this market. Hitting 300k 9 years ago was amazing.

  • @Branith it is all about ROI.. DAOC was made for something like 6mil if I remember correctly. For that amount of money their return was through the roof.

    Basically game like that has to be done under 10mil while current theme park mmos like SWTOR cost probably 80-100+ mil

    Things that need to be done to get that price. No IP, no music no voice actors, very simplified leveling (you can not afford to do WoW cataclysm style leveling). Licensing a proven engine. Few classes (add more through expansions).

  • @Balthazar:
    Well spotted on the FPS, I love FPS and I prefer my PvP when it’s more like a good round of BF:BC2 etc. Why play RPGs then? Several reasons really…
    I’m a fantasy fan, I love playing “a knight in shiny armor” type of games.
    There’s more to do in RPGs (MMO ones at least) than just PvP, I like some casual PvE, I like some casual crafting, and I like the social bits.
    I also like having more abilities to keep in mind and keeping track of when playing, and that people don’t die from a single headshot.

    I think I must have been unclear, I meant as you described that I felt like if I logged and left my spot open it wouldn’t matter, nor would it if I was replaced by someone completely lacking any skill what so ever (the keyboardturning clicker I referred to).
    I DO realize that our leader was good and his tactics and ability to react to the oppositions actions made a lot of difference. I also realize that some of the players (for instance healers) made a huge difference to the outcome. But as a mdps I felt that my role was diminished to AoE spamming. The only real skill involved was not using my KD at the wrong time to not waste it on stagger immune players.
    That’s a whole lot less than say in a 2v2 in WoW, where you need to keep in mind not only your own CDs but also your enemy’s CDs. Not wasting a powerful CC when they still have trinket up, trying to force use of trinkets/BoF/bubble etc.

    Sadly I have never experienced DAOC PvP, but there’s no way to get around the simple fact that the more people involved in a battle the less each individuals effort contributes to the outcome of the battle. So bar the 8 man straggling groups I think I wouldn’t enjoy DAOC PvP either.

    I’m very much on the same page as @darkassj
    If you have a open world PvP game, reward people for not running around in huge zergs, reward them for grouping but not to that extent.

    This is one of the points where WAR failed (dunno since the changes to oRvR though). You got the most benefit out of your playtime by joining the zerg, you got more renown, more influence and bigger chance of getting loot from keeps (as in capping more keeps per hour).
    If you didn’t want to go with the zerg but instead try to cap a keep as a smaller group you would RvE yourself into the keep then get stomped by the enemy zerg before you could take down the keep lord.

  • @Proximo
    I understand. I just don’t like when people say ‘a zerg requires no skill’ when in reality certain roles require skill, just less skill than 2v2 combat. I agree with that to an extent. I still think skill is rewarded, or lack of skill punished, in a Zerg. However in a 2v2 fight mistakes and skill are felt more acutely.

    WAR was designed piss poorly for balanced oRvR combat. I think that is why alot of the DAoC playerbase are having a hard time convicing the WAR playerbase that a zerg can be a good thing. You’ve only seen it done badly.

  • Epiny: I’m not saying zergs can’t be done better than WAR or even very well for that matter, but it will never ever appeal to me because it doesn’t give me the sense of playing a extremely important part in the team. If one dies in a 2v2 it’s a loss, if one dies in a zerg it’s a minor setback at best.
    Now if people want to play that it’s fine by me, but to me zergs are and will always be a bad thing. It does nothing but ruin my gaming experience.

  • Maybe MMO’s are suffering the same issues we see in Hollywood.

    The more money you invest, the *more* subscriptions you *have* to secure to make back that investment.

    So you’re up against the wall as a Dev. You need a HUGE budget to design the game and provide the content that people have come to expect from the genre…

    .. so you need huge subs, which means you have to appeal to as many people as you possibly can to make your money back.

    You’re basically looking at the death of “niche” MMO’s. You’re either another WoW.. or you’re a flop.

    Sadly, it’s the players themselves that really control this. Are players willing to settle for lesser content, lower quality graphics, etc.. in exchange for a more radical, game changing design.

    I have hopes games like Minecraft demonstrate that “Micro-MMOs”, with smaller budgets can get by with clever design.

    It’s hard to say. Everyone wants a seamless, dynamic game world with excellent content. That doesn’t come cheap.

  • I hope you’re right on the Minecraft/Wurm Online idea, but I also wish people would stop talking bout it, I’m so fed up with those games by now ^^

  • damn ill have to try that minecraft, if only to understand whats all fuss about, blocks … pfff i have seen my share of x bit graphics.

    On theme of budgets:

    The trend is to move to biger blockbuster games – WoW, CoD, GTA that take all the money, leaving smaller great games in cold Vanquish, Bayonetta. Same applys to MMO eather your gunning for WoW or your not doing it at all. I think this is wrong im big believer that tech advanced should do 2 things, first make new stuff possible and do existing better, but more importantly 2nd allow doing existing stuff more easy, so far thats not happening budgets have gotten bigger and bigger. Still things like digital actors, strides in physic simulation should one day should reduce the cost, then again it will probably be licensed for ridiculus prices.

    There realy should be Internationl fund for buying out such licences and making them available for public.