Today's question from the Pantheom MMO team is all about realism.
How real to life do you like your MMORPGs to be, is there a limit between how much game worlds should include real-world elements and if so, what are they in your opinion? - Pantheon Twitter
I strongly prefer fantasy games over sci-fi, or modern games. Within fantasy I highly prefer "high fantasy" with lots of magic. So naturally, my answer to this question is going to lean way towards the side of very little if any 'reaslism'.
The problem with adding realism into a game, particularly a MMORPG, is that the realism added ends up being the tedium of life we're all trying to escape. There's also the inability to translate pleasure.
The Pantheon Twitter account has become a fountain of content for me to blog about. On days where I'm wondering if there's anything worth talking about in the MMOsphere, I can always open up Twitter now and have something to say.
Here's the newest topic for discussion."Have today's MMORPGs watered down the genre too far, has the challenge been removed beyond repair, and how do you think this will effect MMORPGs in the future?"
I'll break this into three questions:
Nostalagia. I think that's a favored form of slander by those in the MMO Modernism movement. The question being posed today is one dealing with nostalgia.
Nostalagia - Are we favouring the good memories while suppressing the bad memories we had of past MMORPGs and is that hurting the genre or is this what the genre needs?
Google defines nostalgia as:
a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
Nostalgia is not a false recollection of the past or a tainted perspective.
The Pantheon Twitter strikes again with a question I find interesting enough to write about on the blog. This one is interesting -- Perhaps because of how it's worded but also because of how people have already responded.
I like these questions from the Pantheon Twitter. Keep them coming guys. They recently asked the following question.
Do you use add-ons (Dps and Aggro meters, Healer helpers etc.) in other MMORPGs and if so, what do you like about them?
I've been at this a long time. In the past 10+ years you guys know I have never been a fan of addons in general. I download addons typically to fix a problem or add a feature that is missing and should be a feature of the native UI. So naturally the very idea of addons has a negative connotation in my mind.
I also categorize Add-ons into different categories.
The Patheon twitter asks yet another question I feel inclined to write up into a full post. Their latest question raises a tough point that many of us old school mmo vets will know all too well.
Scenario: You're happily camping a named mob after waiting patiently to get the camp from someone else, along comes a random player who just starts competing for the named spawn, you ask them to stop and they ignore you - what do you do?
The Pantheon Twitter account strikes again with asking good questions. This time they ask:
How long does it take you to create a character, are you someone who takes a while to get it just right or do you blow through and create any old character just to get into the game as fast as you can?
That's an awesome question with multiple avenues to explore.
First, it depends on character creation options.
The Pantheon twitter asked the following question:
If you could add one feature to Pantheon from any other game, what would it be and why?
My answer is one that I know isn't really possible, and it's more than a feature -- it's a core system of the game. So while I know it's never coming to Pantheon, I'll take every opportunity to push my agenda for the future of MMOs!
I really get into gear progression and items, especially armor, in a fantasy MMORPG. Itemization can make or break a game for me, and I believe it can also make or break a game in general given how items are tied into so many other systems. From quests to loot drops, items dictate gameplay direction. How devs choose to provide loot, and in what form loot progression takes shape, truly is a core design decision.
One of (these days, maybe the only) traditional fantasy MMORPG I’m looking forward to trying out is Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The developers recently published a Q&A on their website about “Armor 101.”
Pantheon has reserved a special place on my "MMOs to watch and be excited about" list because it's trying to hearken back to an era where MMOs were based on a world of challenge and teamwork.
So as the years go by, my interest grows as Visionary Realms continues to show more and more gameplay.
Obviously what they showed was early, and the hiccups/issues were present. They're going fairly indie on this one, and it shows, but that's okay. There's a lot to glean from some of the ideology they're expressing.
I took away several key points from this presentation that I want to share with you.
This is hard to define clearly, but it has to do with the idea that the game and the world evolve beyond more than just the repetitive tasks of killing monsters and clearing a dungeon for an in-game defined objective.
MMOs were once about forming the community and the bonds of friendship for no other reason than having virtual friends or to live and fill a role in a virtual world. That's the glue that makes these games often 'sticky' and something we want to continue to log in to each and every day -- or even 17 years later.
How Pantheon looks to create that feeling again... I don't really know that Brad answered that clearly beyond having a game that will be challenging and require teamwork. To me, it's not something that one can clearly check the boxes required and then have a sticky game.
I thought this was really cool. Instead of there being invisible barriers or simply quest objectives locking your progress, your character will actually go up against the environment. This is definitely a nice play on the "player vs. environment" angle of PvE.
For example, during the presentation we saw that a snowy area will require cold resist gear. I hope there will be fire, poison, and other area making environment a real factor in "PvE."
Most games -- probably all these days -- tend to have a "this is the best sword at level 20." Pantheon is striving to have a system where gear is more situational. One sword might excel in one area but not in another. I believe this system will expand to other armor and weapon combinations.
When asked whether raids will be the typical fair, the Visionary Realms team responded by saying yes, but with more twist. In previous games like EQ you could bring 40 people to a 20-man raid. In Pantheon you can still do that, but if you bring an overwhelming number of players the encounter is going to react -- the monster might run away or call reinforcements.
This matters a lot more than people give credit. To have an open world vs. instances means we're all playing together. Your group doesn't get an instance to itself. This means a zone isn't "completed" or "reset". An open-world provides much more "live in it" and "survive it" gameplay.
Pantheon still has a ways to go, but they're entering Pre-alpha before the holidays. I hope they us a big favor and continue to release gameplay showing off the gameplay. I'd like to see what it's like in a group, what it's like to craft, what it's like to explore, etc. I don't want cutscenes or gimmicky trailers -- pure gameplay. I'll be watching.