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Role Playing (Games) Businesses

The Quest To Build a Better Warcraft 196

Posted by Zonk
from the better-than-a-mousetrap dept.
Red Herring tackles the rush into virtual space, talking about the MMOG goldrush and the business consequences World of Warcraft has had on the games industry as a whole. Though sometimes it doesn't seem to fully understand the difference between a single player game and a Massive one, the article still touches on a number of important points. Lots of folks are looking to cash in on WoW's success, and they're importing or licensing every Massive game they can find to get on the bandwagon. "The problem is that no one knows what the next WoW killer will look like. Creating a hit video game, which combines strong characters, a compelling story, and top-notch production values, is part art and part inexact science. Making a hit game can be much more difficult than producing an Oscar-winning movie. After all, the hit video game must be compelling enough to keep players coming back for more." Even if a lot of their conclusions are odd, and they call Puzzle Pirates silly, it's worth a look. What do you think it's going to take to crack Blizzard's deathlock on the Massive genre?
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The Quest To Build a Better Warcraft

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  • Game engine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wilsonthecat (1043880) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @03:38AM (#18021120)
    The content is all that amazing in World of Warcraft, but the game engine is second to none. Make a game engine as good as WoW's, with the character animation, UI and scripting support and you've got a WoW-killer. Until then they are just bad immitations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by UnknownSoldier (67820)
      > but the game engine is second to none.

      Oh please. Maybe on stability, but not on features.
      i.e.
      The game only supports blob shadows.

      • Re:Game engine (Score:5, Interesting)

        by seebs (15766) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:53AM (#18022108) Homepage
        Who cares?

        Seriously, it's a total non-issue to me, and I think that's why they're succeeding. What sold WoW three accounts in my household was that their client was playable on an old G4 iBook.
        • by Scooter (8281)
          MMO NetHack. That's what we need! It'll run on a Dec VT100 :P I'd actually play that come to think of it...

          • While not a MMO in the usual sense, try playing nethack on devnull.net (if they ever come back online).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nahdude812 (88157) *
        I don't think he was talking about bleeding edge graphics, but rather about the GAME engine. Quest system, stats system, combat mechanics, spell/resist mechanics, talent specializations, interface customization system, etc. The flexibility of their GAME engine means they can easily create compelling content.

        Visually what has been compelling to me about WoW was not the special effects, but rather the artistry. They have beautiful, vibrant, imaginative, and colorful landscapes, buildings, characters, monst
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pxtl (151020)
      I'm sorry, no. Blizzard has never been all that for engines. They're good because of artistry and patience. An engine with great *support* for character animation is meaningless without good character animation. Blizzard has time and time again taken new genres and made the best game in the genre not for any particular technical improvement, but by raw force of quality gameplay and artistry. StarCraft, Diablo, WoW - all of these looked, technologically-speaking, primitive compared to their peers. The
  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @03:39AM (#18021124)
    Give me an MMO with the quality of WoW and a higher caliber of people to play with, and I'm there.
  • Second Life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @03:45AM (#18021144) Homepage Journal

    I don't play games at all, but I had a look at Second Life recently and I think that it (and the systems which will come after it) will appeal to a much broader market than games like Warcraft.

    • by TeraCo (410407) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:58AM (#18021404) Homepage
      Sure, except there's no fucking gameplay in Second Life. I play WoW because I want to kill dragons with morons, if I wanted to stand around with morons I'd go outside.
    • Re:Second Life (Score:5, Insightful)

      by discord5 (798235) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:49AM (#18021660)

      I had a look at Second Life recently and I think that it (and the systems which will come after it) will appeal to a much broader market than games like Warcraft.

      Second life is essentially a chatclient to spend real money on virtual goods (or for the few who actually build stuff make real money on virtual goods).

      The problem with second life is that for many people there is no reason to "play" it. There is no real objective to the game, eg. you don't get to slay dragons and rescue the princess, you don't get the rarest of rarest of items that increases your stats so you can brag in your guild about your latest armor or sword, you don't have that rare drop to fit on your brand new spaceship you use to pirate.

      Many people play MMOs in a really competetive fashion, or for the challenge, or because they're addictive. I don't really see any of these qualities in second life. It's basicly a market of virtual goods, and they're making a lot of noise because they're selling baked air, everyone knows it, and appareantly everyone

      The broader market? I dunno, I've met a lot of different people in WoW. Ranging from the immature adolescent ("lolol i'm so l33t") to the student with time to waste ("I raid every evening, have calculated the best uber stats for my character, troll forums, and somehow have to get a passing grade this year") to the adult with spare time ("My kids play this game, and this is a great way of keeping an eye on their online activities, and it's fun too" "I'm single and bored on weekday evenings" "My wife has another headache"). I think that WoW and Second Life have all of these groups as well, but that the WoW player is in it for the gameplay and the Second Life player is in it for the chat.

      • by bogjobber (880402)

        The problem with second life is that for many people there is no reason to "play" it. There is no real objective to the game, eg. you don't get to slay dragons and rescue the princess, you don't get the rarest of rarest of items that increases your stats so you can brag in your guild about your latest armor or sword, you don't have that rare drop to fit on your brand new spaceship you use to pirate.

        I think that's one of the real problems with Second Life. Overall it's basically just a large, detailed c

      • The problem with second life is that for many people there is no reason to "play" it.

        Was there a point to Animal Crossing?
      • by cowscows (103644)
        Second Life is just a huge pile of unrealized potential. What it sort of claims to be is an online 3d framework in which enterprising people could ideally create something analogous to WoW, but having a lot of the common stuff (graphics engine, network code, physics, etc.)already taken care of by Linden Labs. The problem is that a lot of that underlying framework is just really really sucky. There are tons of people who tried to create FPS type games within SL, some very smart and inventive people. But thin
    • by ProppaT (557551)
      Or you could do like me and play WoW inside Second Life. Yeah, I found a little house in the middle of nowhere. It's kind of low key at this point, but I expect that it'll really take off soon. They have WoW emulator clients on one side of the room and live german scheizer sex shows on the other.
  • by Ksempac (934247) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:04AM (#18021202)

    Creating a hit video game, which combines strong characters, a compelling story, and top-notch production values

    Compelling story ? Strong characters ? We re not talking about MMO games here...MMO aims to the "lowest common denominator" between players to attract as much people as they can. WOW did it so well that they managed to attract people who hardly ever played video games before...and that's also why hardcore gamers tend not to play WOW.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ryunosuke (576755)
      you've hit the nail on the head. WOW is basicly the poor man's mmorpg. It's dumbed down enough that casual players can play, pretty enough to capture said casual players, and occasionally has some end game stuff for the "raiders". one of the reasons why Eq2 (my personal favorite) will never ever be #1 is that they never dumbed down anything in (besides removing the shards early in the second year). Eq2's leveling and tradeskilling is a bitch. Wow's isn't. I played wow for 3 months, and I felt as if I was ac
      • I felt as if I was accidently leveling at times.

        Darn, were you being distracted by all that fun you were having? The reason many MMOs struggle is because of the idea, echoed in your post, that it is a good thing for levelling to be "a bitch". It is not. A game should fun to play, not something which you can work at for hours and end up no closer to any sense of accomplishment (or even further from one, in the case of harsh death penalties and the like). Building a game which is accessible and fun is not

        • by Gr8Apes (679165)
          I truth, I played and quite EQ, because it was SSDD. Just because you put different bit maps on the screen didn't really change your strategy all that much. You had blunt/blade/magic targets in every level category, and the technique for most efficiently destroying them never changed across the levels.

          And that brings me to another thing - levels. Levels in EQ(2), WoW, etc, have completely perverted what should be fun. Leveling is about the only important thing. A level 20 char will neer be killed by a level
          • by AvitarX (172628)
            Though a slightly different genre, doesn't Guild Wars (and expansions) try to fix the whole level thing?

            I think part of the problem though is that if you don't get way powerful then there is a risk of not feeling accomplishment.

            For example look at Civilization vs Colonization. Without the large and quickly expanding tech tree the game can feel much slower.
        • by dave562 (969951)
          Darn, were you being distracted by all that fun you were having? The reason many MMOs struggle is because of the idea, echoed in your post, that it is a good thing for levelling to be "a bitch". It is not. A game should fun to play, not something which you can work at for hours and end up no closer to any sense of accomplishment (or even further from one, in the case of harsh death penalties and the like).

          I completely agree with this. One of the things that makes WoW so addictive is the ease at which the

      • I find it ironic that people who want their gameplay to be work look down on those who want their gameplay to be fun.

        Regarding the original topic: I think the 'next big thing' will have to change the game significantly. Anyone trying to make a new WoW, or WoW in Space, or anything remotely like WoW is shooting themselves in the foot. They need to figure out WHY WoW works so damn well, and apply that to something different enough that people would want to play it instead.

        It is going to be VERY difficult
      • by brkello (642429)
        You are confusing difficulty with wasting your time for no good reason. Other games are "harder" because they are more harsh to the player. Crafting isn't difficult because it is hard to figure out, it is difficut because you fail a lot. Is it harder to level in other games? Sure, but the difficulty isn't something that requires more intelligence...you do the same thing over and over playing it safe because the penalties are so harsh when you die. This isn't fun.

        That is the main difference between WoW
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:14AM (#18021250)
    You don't need FedEx quests, level grinding, and fairytales to have an MMO. All you need are lots of players interacting online. Yet for some reason the major studios don't get this. They feel that every MMO needs dumbassed level grinding, quests, etc. The same stuff we've seen over and over. There's no reason why a game as simple as Team Fortress Classic couldn't be an MMO.

    WoW dominates the "traditional" MMO market right now. It's foolish to directly compete with WoW unless you have a strong IP, huge marketing budget, and gameplay that makes players to give up their WoW timesink for your timesink. Most startup MMO companies lack at least two of those things...

    But you have a chance if you create an online game that appeals to other gamers. What do Half-Life 2, Halo, and Gears of War have in common? They're shooter games and they're best-sellers, yet no one has created a successful FPS MMO. That market is a potential goldmine...as long as devs steer clear of the traditional MMO crap.

    Imagine a MMOFPS similar to Guild Wars. No monthly fee, but frequently-released expansions. There would be a co-op campaign where you and your party fight the baddies and advance through the game's storyline, all while gaining access to new weapons/skills. Add in some arenas for on-the-fly PvP combat, territorial conquest zones, and a some sort of guild structure. Now you've got yourself a game. Simplified, I know, but a competent studio could easily pull that off.
    • There was a MMOFPS. It sucked because everyone camped the respawn spots.
      • There was a MMOFPS. It sucked because everyone camped the respawn spots.
        Design defects like that are avoidable. Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64, a four-player FPS, had enough respawn spots such that if the game engine determined that a spot was being camped, it put a player somewhere else.
        • when it's a MMofps game

          4 players huh? need a maximum of five respawn spots.

          MMOFPS, one thousand people online, due to the type of game, 50% are sniper dicks
          so, 501 respawn spots.. yeah, that scales well...
          • by gauauu (649169)
            His point was not that you had to have the exact same mechanism that Goldeneye used, but that there are ways to prevent it. Goldeneye was just one example.
            • I'm sure there is a solution to the problem.

                  the example given as evidence/proof however, is piss-poor.

              the whole point is multi player, vs MASSSIVELY multi-player, is that the problems and solutions are different.

              Saying you can fix it, this 4 person gamer had no problems dealing with it- does not support the assertion

              the assertion may be valid, but the argument is not valid proof.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Negatyfus (602326)
      Well, you know. Games like PlanetSide [wikipedia.org] has proved to be not very successful. Fact is, many people want the traditional MMORPG gameplay.
    • by code-e255 (670104) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:02AM (#18021712)
      Although some people don't like the leveling treadmill, all those artificial time-sinks keep the people playing for a long time, and that's what MMO companies want.

      What would be so great about an MMO Half-Life or whatever? As far as I know, the HL dedicated server already allows you to create a server with hundreds of players, but either the server can't handle the load, or people's connections aren't good enough to make everything appear smooth. In RPGs it doesn't matter if you're lagging a bit, but in an FPS, even a slight bit of lag can make the game unplayable. Internet technology isn't quite mature enough for a "real" twitch-skill MMOFPS.

      Also, imho, in FPS games can have too many players. If you've got too many people shooting rockets and sh*t all over the place in a very small area, the quality of gameplay just deteriorates as you don't really have much control over winning. And if you'd have huge outdoor maps like in PlanetScape, you end up with loads of bland, uninspired terrain and no real exciting maps like in traditional FPS games.
      • There are other ways to keep a player engaged than dangle a never-achievable carrot in front of their noses.

        Make a game world that's dynamic and actually changes based on socio-economic-political structures (ie..guilds) over time, without falling into the shadowbane trap... and you could have an amazing MMO that needs no 'grind' (or very minimal grind to play 90% of the game) to keep players engaged. Don't know if the server technology is there for it yet.. but I'll keep my fingers crossed.
        • by ranton (36917)
          without falling into the shadowbane trap...

          What is the shadowbane trap? I used to like that game when I was in school; I only stopped when I had too much work to spend that much time on a game. Needed some kind of quest system, but was far more fun than games like WOW because things you did actually mattered on a large scale.

          --
      • by argStyopa (232550)
        What would be so great about an MMO Half-Life or whatever? As far as I know, the HL dedicated server already allows you to create a server with hundreds of players, but either the server can't handle the load, or people's connections aren't good enough to make everything appear smooth. In RPGs it doesn't matter if you're lagging a bit, but in an FPS, even a slight bit of lag can make the game unplayable. Internet technology isn't quite mature enough for a "real" twitch-skill MMOFPS.

        You mean, like Battlegrou
    • by Barny (103770)

      It's foolish to directly compete with WoW unless you have a strong IP, huge marketing budget, and gameplay that makes players to give up their WoW timesink for your timesink.


      So I guess based on that warhammer on-line (one of the strongest ever IPs, rivalled only by LotR really) backed by EA Games (they have some spare money, i think) and good pvp is going to be the WoW killer then?
    • Heard of Huxley? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Durrill (908003)
      Just from observing the trend of MMO's, we can see that everyone is constantly trying to re-invent the wheel when it comes to the enjoyable traits of gameplay. Despite Planetside's dismal failure, other company's are infact trying to re-invent the MMOFPS.

      http://www.webzengames.com/Game/Huxley/default.asp [webzengames.com]
      http://mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/setView/overview/ga meID/197 [mmorpg.com]
      http://www.gametrailers.com/gamepage.php?id=1774 [gametrailers.com]

      I've been following the details of this game since it was first announced at E3 two yea
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      My biggest problem with wow questing and leveling is it has no greater effect on the rest of the world. I do a quest to help rebuild a bridge and 20 levels later I run through that area and the bridge is still busted.

      Basically WOW is little more than a single player game with other people running around. Unless those other people talk to you or challange you in some way there is nothing else that they do that affects you.

      At a minimum I'd like to see a real horde vs alliance power shift over time. But rea
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:16AM (#18021256)
    "World of Warcraft" is the MMORPG.
    On the issue:
    Building a World of Warcraft successor is easy. Look at what they do, copy it and do it better. Improve the things that aren't good and add the things that are missing. Generally the japanese do this sort of things when it comes to electronics. It's the very same way people could build an iPod killer. It's just that somebody still hasn't built a single device that can compete with it on the most simple specs (large memory, video capability, ease of use, decent looks).
    Same goes for WoW. Look at the game. Play it. Aside from Monopoly sucktion it's advantages are very real and obvious.
    1) Runs easily on older hardware without looking like crap.
    2) Runs on Macs and plays nice with mac users. (potential universal opinion leaders when it comes to nice gaming and fun stuff)
    3) Takes 90 seconds for the most ultimate n00b get into.
    4) Slowly reveals it's complexity bit by bit without overwelming anybody at any point.
    5) Has a powerleveling 'grind option', but not an omnipresent one.
    6) Has an optional powerquesting stance.
    7) Is beautyful and content laden enough for all who just like to run around and are not to interested in 5 or 6.
    8) Has a super addictive end-game that even amplifies the underlying 'diabolo collectors habit' subnote of the entire career in conjunction with strong multiplay / competetive play.
    9) Has subtle Humor made by the actuall builders, doesn't take itself so serious - important if your offering a full-time imersive VR.
    10) Builds on a world that is not and doesn't have to be realistic or even plausible when considering distances between regions (this is why LotR online will fail. The Shire is 25 minutes away from Mordor - how weird is that?)
    11) Dedicated company and team with sufficient cash and corporate strategy backing. Blizzard made a decision and came through with it all the way. No half-assed stuff. And, look, a miracle! They've got a game that works and people like! Unbelieveable!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Negatyfus (602326)
      Yeah. Sounds absolutely simple. A BABY could do it. :P
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) *

      Building a World of Warcraft successor is easy. Look at what they do, copy it and do it better.

      Yeah, and then all you have to do is convince WoW's 5 million+ players to give a rat's ass.

      -Eric

    • by code-e255 (670104)
      If it's so f***ing easy, why has nobody managed to make a better WoW yet?

      Yeah, they all suck. If they'd hire you they'd end up with twice as many subscribers as WoW.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574)
    The article seems to imply that WoW has somehow paved the way for indie games. I quote:

    "Things were much simpler only a few years ago, when practically all video games were developed or published by industry giants such as Electronic Arts, TakeTwo, and Activision.... Then came World of Warcraft...."

    Maybe I'm behind the times, but how has WoW made it more possible, suddently, for indie games to make it big? That might be the case if Blizzard were a small-time developer, but we know that's not true. Blizz
  • by IndieKid (1061106) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:14AM (#18021470) Journal
    Anyone looking to make the next WoW killer would be well advised to look at the way Blizzard went about it. A MMORPG is not something that can be turned out in a couple of years with a standard development team to make use of some film licence; it takes significant investment, in terms of time, manpower and cash. Of course, that's not to say that using existing fictitious worlds as a starting point is a bad idea - MMOs need a lot of content to sustain them and getting the appropriate intellectual property owners on board could make sense. I think a lot of the obvious licences have already been used for MMOs though (Star Wars, the Matrix and Lord of the Rings spring to mind). End-user involvement is critical to the success of a MMO game. Any MMO game that is developed behind closed doors and then unleashed on the world is doomed to failure in my opinion. Extensive alpha and beta programmes open to anyone willing to participate are something the industry are going to have to get used to. If your game is any good chances are that the guys you had playing in beta will spread the word and you'll have a ready made subscriber-base when you go live.
  • Instad of mashing the only skills that do stuff, make all the skills balanced such that combat involves choosing the right move for the right situation. I know when I played my icemage, I'd just keep casting frostbolt, then when something got near me frost nova, backup a step, frostbolts again, the reset the frost skills, frost nova, backup a step, frost bolts until dead. In a group, sometime I'd cast ice block to save myself from the tremendous aggro I got for doing the most damage in the group. In 60 l
    • by Dan B. (20610)
      That doesn't work simply due to the massive amount of key input data the server needs to process. Even WoW struggles with it's paltry couple of k/s to each player. And they are mostly only hitting one to three keys every 2.5 seconds.

      Think about it this way.

      10,000 players on a realm.
      1 input per player per second, plus movement data, opponent data, and environment data (surrounding units, etc. say 10).
      Each player needing to be updated, on average, with only 10 other players inputs / movements.
      Lets just say on
    • by andi75 (84413)
      I agree that solo'ing single mobs is quite braindead. But you have to use your wits if you want to battle three same or higher lvl mobs (depending on your gear ofc.) and you're already low on mana/hp. Also, if you play a hybrid class (shaman/druid), group play is a lot more interesting, at least when the instance is challenging enough. You have to constantly adapt to the situation and decide between

      1) getting aggro off the clothies
      2) heal those clothies instead, while the tank hopefully gets the aggro back
      3
    • by Xentor (600436)
      Ok, I'll have to chime in here, as my main raiding character is a level 70 firemage.

      Despite being almost entirely fire spec, I use about, say, 80% of my abilities, including a few frost spells. The only damage spell I almost never use is your favorite, Frostbolt, simply because it isn't worth the 3-second cast time without putting talent points into the frost tree.

      If all you like to do is target and keep mashing one button, fine. If you want to have more fun and squeeze every inch of firepower out of your
    • Dude, when I played wow as fire arcane, pretty much all the number keys and function keys and mouse buttons were mapped to something. Just because you are roleplaying a character with no style, doesn't mean everyone was. I was a pimp mage who used a cornicopia of spells. You kind of have to constantly be cycling through firebolts and arcane missles, the arcane aoe spell, fireblast, etc.. to be good at pvp.

      Although I would agree that if your raiding, the rules of the raid tend to proclude any creativity. Tha
  • they call Puzzle Pirates silly

    Well, yeah, it is silly, but in a good way. It is supposed to be a bit of playful, lighthearted fun, not a gritty realistic pirate simulation complete with veneral diseases and scurvy....

    And as the article points out, they are doing quite well with that concept. Also check out the upcoming Bang!Howdy [banghowdy.com] by the same team. Java based, just like RuneScape [runescape.com], and Wurm Online [wurmonline.com]. The last one is pretty impressive considering it is made by only two developers.
    • They call PP silly because it doesn't match the same gameplaying market. Most of the masses of World of Warcraft and the other MMORPGs base their systems around fighting to gain experience and items to improve fighting and levels, then skills, and so on, with a nicely interlinked system of "improve X to speed up your increase in everything else". The mindset of hardcore gamers varies, but it's leagues different from the mindset of those people interested in PP. Three Rings have put significant effort into k
  • World of Starcraft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dan B. (20610) <slashdot@nosPaM.bryar.com.au> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:53AM (#18021672) Homepage
    What do you think it's going to take to crack Blizzard's deathlock on the Massive genre?

    As per the subject line, World of Starcraft.

    Well, not exactly that, but it would be good. The only thing I see breaking the MMO market now is something that gamers love (FPS), rolled in to the same detailed and compelling game we return to day after day (MMORPG). What I see is an FPS come RPG title based in a world that thrives on people banding together to achieve goals, but leaves the door open for PvP combat a-la the WoW style PvP servers.

    The key factor would of course be the ability of the developer to work out some sort of faction / race / class based system with the familiar leveling / gearing requirment, and rolling in an FPS front end. Three way battles like those in Starcraft would be awesome, as the current Horde vs. Alliance system in WoW is getting a bit tired.

    I still play WoW nearly 20 hours a week, down from over 40 to sometimes 60 a week last year, but would jump straight in to World of Starcraft if it were to miraculously appear in the above stated incarnation.
  • None Will Succeed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ka D'Argo (857749) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:56AM (#18021694) Homepage
    I only played WoW briefly, but I know enough as a regular player does to know no other company at present will "beat" WoW. Why? Their personal limitations.

    Other companies, won't take a chance. How many MMO's can claim they offer player based scripting for god knows how many in game effects? Or any of the other features WoW has? Despite the fact I dislike WoW, Blizzard did do that that right; Instead of coming up with some super special features of their own that other MMO's didn't have, they cherry picked what they thought were the best features. Not stolen content mind you but just things that an MMO should have. Case in point, umpteenth kinds of filters for the various chat huds. You'd be amazed that not every MMO offers a good deal of filters like WoW, or hell even any filters at all.

    And the engine itself, of WoW, is the killer. Sure it's not really some supreme graphical eye candy people expect three years later after it's release but that is the point. Blizzard took a chance. They released a game engine that surprisingly works very well on low end hardware PC's which people tend to forget makes up the majority of gamers. Ever wonder why Counter Strike 1.6 is probably the most popular first person shooter, still, to date? Cause Half Life 1 can be run on some very low end hardware (if I remember right, the HL1 engine is a modified Quake 2 engine). Point being, no other MMO company is going to cater to low end PC users. More and more MMO's have such huge graphical requirements. You think Vanguard is going to topple WoW? No. Even if the gameplay and options of the client matched that of WoW, they'd still be eliminating a huge chunk of the 7 million WoW base (asssuming Vanguard had 7 mil) simply cause a good portion of those people wouldn't be even able to run the game.

    Blizzard rolled the dice and won. They took a chance on merging a ton of features from various MMO's and a game engine that wasn't exactly the top of the game when it came out, and it worked. You find me another developer that will take those chances, and you'll find yourself a candidate for a WoW successor.
    • if I remember right, the HL1 engine is a modified Quake 2 engine

      Valve modified the Quake 1 engine actually, but since they took so long to release Q2 had been out for a while. Most people assumed it was the Q2 engine they based it on since it looked so good.
    • > Blizzard took a chance. They released a game engine that surprisingly works very well on low end hardware PC's which people tend to forget makes up the majority of gamers.

      Completely agreed! But the reason this _worked_ is because the world is cartoony to begin with, so it is easier to forgive the low-poly modeling.

      This is one reason UO lasted so long -- you could play it on laptops.
  • by MaXimillion (856525) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:22AM (#18022192)
    Pokemon MMORPG.
    I'm being serious here. It's one of the most popular game franchises, and well-known to non-gamers as well. The consept and playstyle lend themselves well to MMORPG gameplay. All that's needed is to take the good stuff from popular MMO's, mix them together with the Pokemon brand, and you'll have a game that'll get ten times the amount of players WoW has.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Randolpho (628485)
      Well, I'll say this about a Pokemon MMORPG:

      I'd really love to grind Pikachu. Into dust.

      Or, I'd really love to grind that Team Rocket chick Jessie. In an entirely different way.

      Or,

      Nah, I'll stop there. :D
    • by Rhone (220519)
      My initial reaction was "Great idea, it would get all the 5-10 year olds off of serious MMORPGs!"

      But then I felt a surge of disappointment, because somewhere in the back of my mind I know the dark, horrible truth: Those 5-10 year olds are really 15-50 year olds who ACT like 5-10 year olds, except they probably wouldn't be as interested in Pokemon as real 5-10 year olds. Oh well, the thought of seeing some improvement in the maturity level present on my WoW servers was nice for the half-second that it laste
    • by Xentor (600436)
      I suddenly want something very bad to happen to you.

      PLEASE no more Pokemon... Let it die! Let it go away! Sure, it'd get a lot of the little kiddies out of Warcraft (And thus make WoW players more mature on average), but do you REALLY want millions of kids doing nothing but Pokemon-related activities every day? Give it a month, and they'll be running around repeating their own names...

      "Squirtle Squirtle! Squir-- Wait, what the #(*% am I doing? This doesn't make any sense!"
      "Quiet, Earl, or you'll get the
    • When I hear the name pokemon, I associate it with like 10 year old kids. Wasn't that basically a tomagachi mixed with magic the gathering type cards? I know it became a tv show and stuff later, but I wouldnt picture that as like an adult game.

  • Well, WoW works (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:35AM (#18022258) Journal

    Is it perfect? No. Could you make a game that simply improves on its mistakes? Possibly.

    But what are its mistakes, and are they really mistakes or are they fundemental parts of the nature of MMO gaming.

    It would be easy to think that you simply visit the WoW forums, note down the complaints of gamers and ex-gamers and then fix these in your game.

    But wich to follow? Do you cater to the PvP haters or lovers?

    WoW currently caters to both PvP and PvE but that also means neither side gets exactly the dedication they want. So they complain. BUT would a game without one be that successfull? Just how big is the subscriber base that is satisfied with the current combo? People who are satisfied tend not to post on forums. They are to busy having a good time in the game.

    Same with the crafting/loot system. Again WoW has sought the middle ground, essentially both systems of getting your equipment are competing with each other. This means that pure crafters have a reduced market while at the same time those who are looting get lots of useless materials they need to sell.

    And again, would a game that focusses on one exclusively (SWG had a pure crafting system) be that succesfull?

    You could create a MMORPG were levelling up isn't everything. Were grinding to X isn't the primary goal. That would make the RPG crowd perhaps happier but might loose you all the grinding monkeys who no longer have an epenis to wave around.

    WoW in many areas seeks the middle road. It works. 8+million people think the bits they like are better then the bits they don't like.

    If you are going to change anything in that design you need to realize that you are going to please some but most likely upset a hell of a lot of other players.

    Go pure PvP and you MIGHT appease those PvPers who left but you are going to loose for sure every single PvE player. PLUS a significant part of the players who like a bit of both.

    Just read every comment here that suggests an obvious improvement and then ask youreselve what the total effect would be.

    Then again, until WoW entered the market, people said that the MMORPG market had been saturated and that any new game could only poach from other games.

    So is WoW the final MMORPG or is it just a more succesfull EQ waiting to be dethroned by the next comany.

  • One word: Tribes.
  • I think part of WoW's success (part, not the biggest reason) is its built in framework for allowing users to customize the UI and create addons. It was a brilliant move to simply base a lot of the UI around previously existing script technology (Lua) and allow users to customize that. They have had to make some changes along the way to lock specific things down, but it is far better than any other MMOGs before, if I were forced to I wouldn't play with the default UI anymore.

    That is why Second Life is so
  • I consider myself a fairly hardcore gamer- at least as close to a hard core gamer as one can be and still retain a full time job. I've always liked the concept of the MMORPG, and I've tried several different games, both large and well known (Ragnarok, WoW, CoH, DoaC) and less well known (A Tale in the Desert, Eternal Lands), and I've never played any game for more than 2 or 3 months.
    I have since come to the conclusion that there are a few things that any MMO will have to deal with before I will consider g
  • ...talking about the MMOG goldrush and the business consequences World of Warcraft has had on the games industry...


    Have we forgotten about Everquest already? It would seem the same story could have been written 4 years ago...

  • stargate worlds looks like it would be a good MMOG game
    http://www.stargateworlds.com/ [stargateworlds.com]
  • The reason I quit WoW was because it was impossible to get things done in less than 3 hours - with a group of 40 doing the same raid over and over for months at a time.

    I would rather see the endgame be a shitload of 5 man instances that can be done in an hour or two. Perhaps a couple of larger raids, but not to the point where they exclude casual players entirely.

  • I hate how it takes so damn long to run around on feet until I can get a mount at level 40. At least when I play GTA I can steal transportation easily. Why can't I put a harness on a raptor to make it my personal taxi? The raptor would probably rather have that than a fatal backstab in passing.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      the key, in general, to making a game that people will keep playing is goal attainability.
      If you just give something to people, then the reward effect is diminished.

      When you get to 40 and gt your mount, it's a big deal.

      Now, I think the mount should be an instance run quest reward, and not monay; which would ahve the nice effect of dimishing gold reselling.

      When gold resellers founf out flyinh mounts are 6K gp, the probably came in there pants, and then bought a new house. In that order.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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