Something about Nothing

I feel the need to post something yet sadly there is nothing immediately at my fingertips.  It feels dead lately in the news as the post-E3 lull settles in.  MMO’s in general are back to the “blah” stage and the most you can hope for is an Asian free to play going into beta or some old MMO having a double exp weekend to bring people back.  Thanks to the Sony hacking I’ve been dabbling in EQ on Fippy here and there but mostly I’ve just been leveling alts in WoW. All around nothing exciting.

In general, there is definitely something missing but that’s old news.  I’m still 100% predicting a MMO crash where all hope is lost until we look to the east on the fifth day and see Gandalf some developer bringing the industry back to its roots.  Until then, I won’t buy into the “it’s impossible to have fun in MMO’s” mentality.  Guild Wars 2 will be a themepark game like all the rest and have themepark PvP, but maybe it will be a new twist as they try to mimic DAOC and still be fun.  SWTOR will definitely be themepark and be almost entirely more of the same questing, raiding, etc., but perhaps with the story it can still be enjoyable.  MMO’s are quickly becoming already predictably all the same much like a Call of Duty sequel, but I still find reason to hope for the next release.

In some not so optimistic pessimism, Zelda: Ocarina of Time comes out tomorrow!  Graev has been walking around the house giving weird looks and saying “The legend returns tomorrow…” then walking off.  Took him saying it a few times for me to figure out he was talking about OoT.  It’s looking to be pretty dang awesome.  I mean, even Robin Williams and his daughter think so.

To pass some time we have been playing Hunted: Demon’s Forge.  It came out at the end of May and we’re really enjoying it.  It really is a mix of the Gears of War feel (despite my refusal to believe the advertising spin) mixed with a hack and slash dungeon crawler.  More on this in our end of the month roundup.

Maybe the most exciting thing to talk about is our game in production.  We uploaded our ad hoc testing version to the iPad today and things worked far better than expected.  I want to do a much more detailed writeup on this tomorrow, but I’m happy to say that we have made a few changes as a result and have already improved the game.  It feels great actually playing a game we made and thinking about ways to make it more fun for the player.  Enough of that though since I want to talk about it tomorrow.

I guess that’s all for tonight.  That’s a lot of something about nothing!

  • “MMO’s are quickly becoming already predictably all the same much like a Call of Duty sequel.”

    To be honest, that right there is pretty much what has kept me coming back to WoW for so long. It’s also why I had such high hopes for games like WAR and Aion to break the mold and still be good enough to reel me in for a long time. It’s a bit odd…the games that are like WoW…fail because they are like WoW and so why play something like WoW, when you could play WoW. Then again, the games that are not like WoW…still fail, but for completely different reasons.

    I really felt it when I was doing the Rift beta. I kept thinking, “This is pretty good and I like the new twist on classes/talent trees…but damn, it’s so much like WoW. I should just be playing that, where I already have so much built up and time invested in characters, a guild, RL friends who play with me, etc.”

    Unfortunately, I really think WoW and the WoW-model are still going to be king for a good long while.

  • “MMO’s are quickly becoming already predictably all the same much like a Call of Duty sequel.”

    You are spot on and besides GW2(B2P) I don’t see any game interesting on the horizon.

    Rift is WoW in disguise,same thing for SWTOR.TERA besides the gorgeous graphics and the combat I don’t see anything groundbreaking and I doubt that the game will be as successful as EME is expecting it to be.

    My only hope resides in CCP World of Darkness and 38 studios Copernicus.I really wish they bring back the element of adventure and persistence that Older MMO had and that their game is not 99% combat.

  • Novelty for novelty’s sake is fine when you’re growing up. After all, everything’s new to you then.

    After a while novelty ceases to be a novelty, though and pleasure increasingly comes from seeing a thing you know you like done well than seeing something you haven’t seen before.

    Of course, a little twist of originality can add flavor to an old favorite.

  • Re-posting my response to that thread here since I still do not have a better way to sum up my thoughts.

    I haven’t been able to get into an mmo for months and until they realize the value of building a living, breathing WORLD (not game, world) then I believe this lethargy will continue. Guild Wars 2 will be fun, and it will be on the table for a long time with no monthly fee, but it is not going to be the game changing mmo.

    Due to the attitudes of the modern game developers as well as the industry as a whole I believe that the mindset for creating true virtual worlds has been lost to a previous generation. I still hope for one to come about, but I’m not holding my breath.

    This is a big part of why I decided to start building my own games, because no one else is going to build them for me.

  • My WOW/LOTRO burnout carried into Rift which I stopped playing months ago. One of my friends has similar thoughts about an MMO crash in the coming future. I plan to finish my backlog of 360 games while waiting for Skyrim in the fall. Still hoping for some Diablo III by the end of the year.

  • @Balthazar “Unfortunately, I really think WoW and the WoW-model are still going to be king for a good long while.”

    I think you’re right. It took a company like Blizzard to step into the niche MMO scene and take it mainstream. It’s going to take a company with Blizzard’s resources to shift directions again, if such a shift even happens.

    Bioware (with the backing of EA, as much as I dislike EA) is the first company I think that is really capable of contending with the beast Blizzard has become. They have the resources available.

    There are other offerings out there that do provide something different but gamers as a whole don’t seem very interested in them. We speak with our wallets and apparently most of us want WoW.

  • The reason the mmo market is so stale is because companies keep making AAA titles that play it “safe” and mmo’s just cost too much money for indie devs to innovate without a guaranteed recomp.

    So you end up with a bunch of titles that are basically reskinned games, and a bunch of games that die due to lack of marketing/support/content/etc.

    Things won’t change until someone takes a risk and with the economy still in a semi rut I really don’t see anything happening anytime soon. All we will see is better graphics, but barely any innovation.

    A few things I’d love to see happen though would be mmo’s going back to the idea of the fully connected world. This was one of the main features that fueled the genre from the beginning, the idea that EVERYONE WAS TOGETHER IN THE SAME WORLD AT ALL TIMES. Not in some hub world infected with instanced content that we have now. To me that’s the first step in getting out of the rut mmo’s are in currently. I could go on for days on this topic but I’m sleepy lol nap time.

  • I dont think GW2 will be quite the themepark as you think though Keen. I mean sure it has alot of themepark elements but it also, in my opinion, has alot of things that make sandbox MMO’s fun. Its not the same raid grind as WoW or EQ and as it stands the WvWvW PvP system looks akin to DAoC enough to make me want to play it even more. SWToR on the other hand is WoW in space and relys on the the same failed themepark endgame that has caused me to gouge out my eyeballs in the ‘raid or die’ mentality these games bring. I dont think the Voice Over is enough to make me want to play past the level cap, as I only intend to treat the game as KOTOR3 and nothing else. Its sad that a AAA developer doesnt have the vision and innovative ideas to put forth into the heart at what made the genre fun back in its early years.

  • The fact that I’m actually playing Allods to kill time untl next one tells me we’re in a good MMORPG draught.

  • I really enjoyed Rift, but now that I’m at the end-game and am forced to raid to be able to compete to get PVP Gear, I find myself no longer logging in, as I have to real interest in that.

  • @ Devin

    I was liking some of their concepts, then I read this:

    “Wizardry Online will be free-to-play with microtransactions.”

    Also, I don’t know why so many folks think sandbox-type gameplay is synonymous with things like full FFA PvP and perma-death…I don’t want to play a game that has these features as if they are selling points.