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Role Playing (Games)

Bethesda To Have An MMO-Dev Sibling 76

Posted by Zonk
from the cue-the-music dept.
Gamasutra is reporting the exciting news that Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax has just announced they are opening a new studio dedicated to online games. It's going to be headed by Matt Firor, formerly of Mythic Entertainment. "Firor worked for Mythic for 10 years, serving as the producer for the company's popular MMO Dark Age of Camelot, as well as taking a lead role on all of the studio's other projects. Since leaving Mythic in 2006, Firor has worked as a consultant in the online gaming industry, advising publishers interested in entering the online market ... The studio is expected to continue to take on staff over the next 18 months in order to establish 'an entire MMO-sized team,' according to Firor. Specifics on planned subject and platform for ZeniMax's MMO have not yet been revealed." Fallout's MMOG rights are still firmly held by Activision so ... Elder Scrolls Online, perhaps?
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Bethesda To Have An MMO-Dev Sibling

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  • How Many? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    >>Elder Scrolls Online, perhaps

    How many MMORPG's with a sword and sorcery theme can the market bear?
    • by Havenwar (867124)
      One that makes it, and an endless amount of imitators that will never make it. Unless of course they actually do something completely original, but the odds of that happening is fairy small... the phrase MMORPG itself is almost synonymous to World of Warcraft these days. If they say they are making an MMORPG, then they are most likley making a WoW-clone.

      • by Sarutobi (1135167)
        Most likely, yes, it will be a clone. I don't know though... it is still bethesda. Even if they did make a WoW clone, I'm sure it would be of high enough quality that it would be fun nonetheless. On the other hand, they might just surprise us. Wait and see :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Havenwar (867124)
          Ah well that is my general plan yes, I tend to wait and see. Still, the trends are not encouraging, and even good studios make bad moves. These days everyone and their mailman has a plan for an MMO of some type, so... I can't say I am overwhelmed with the news. Now if a Fallout MMO was actually coming out any time soon I would be more enthusiastic, even though my pessimistic streak says that will probably be screwed up as well. Simply put the game industry in general has too much imitation these days and no
        • by Endo13 (1000782)
          Well, I really don't see them making a WoW clone. I would expect them to make more of an online version of Morrowind and Oblivion. Since that would be awesome and it's more or less what I'd expect from them, I really hope I'm not unpleasantly surprised.
    • >>How many MMORPG's with a sword and sorcery theme can the market bear?

      Are their any good MMORPG's that are not so dreary/medieval, but not as cartoonish WoW. I don't mind sword and sorcery, but I would like to see something other than medieval peasants and medieval architecture covering the landscape. How about scantiliy clad amazons, crystal palaces floating on clouds, etc...
      • And while they're at it, Just for a change of pace, get rid of the D20 bullsh*t. Make rock-paper-scissors style combat if they can't think of anything more inventive.

        IMO, the rand() is a crutch to simulate depth of experience where there is none. If used at all, it should be used in the decision process of the NPCs. Actual combat, or anything else, should be completely deterministic: if you choose great swinging slash and the computer chooses stab&parry, you should get stabbed.

        Yeah, it's probably a l
      • by Dimentox (678813)
        Ill start off and say i have played MMOs since 1998 when eq1 came out.. In 2000 i had a dev house that made a MMORPG up to playable alpha 2 then we got shelved (go to the internet archive and look up age of darkness mmorpg). I have to say i played em all. I hate WOW it is the worst game ever... I just cant stand it.. Its lets take all the good parts of a mmo and then lets watter them down till there is no challenge or fun. lets mix it with crappy graphics an appeal to 12 year olds.

        eq2 was nice but not what
        • Lord of the Rings Online is actually the game I'm playing now, and I like it. It does have a good hook being set in the Tolkien universe.

          It looks like Conan and Warhammer will be coming out sometime, and I wonder how these and LOTRO will cannibalize each other. Warhammer does look like it will have interesting PvP though. But they are all seem to have a medieval European-type setting.
          • by Dimentox (678813)
            Warhammer will appeal to the wow PVP players. Conan is it just me but even hearing the word conan makes me cringe. cheese fabioisk barbarians :P..

            Does not sound like much fun.

            I really wish there would be a warhammer 40k one..

            I do hear White Wolf signed with a dev house to create a World Of Darkness MMORPG.
            Thats right Vampires, Werewolves, Wraiths and more.
            I will definately give that a shot.. Hopefully it will be a decent game.
    • Re:How Many? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TitusC3v5 (608284) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @06:13PM (#20078451) Homepage
      They said the same thing a few years ago when MMORPGs starting making waves. Then World of Warcraft happened.

      That being said, I would drop cash in a heartbeart to play a MMORPG with Oblivion-like gameplay. MMORPG meets first-person shooter. Sort of like Darkfall, but with a reachable goal instead of trying to be everything to everyone. Give me fun gameplay, lots of content, and character progression that isn't shackled by that atrocity known as class, and you'll have my $15/mo.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Reason58 (775044)

        Give me fun gameplay, lots of content, and character progression that isn't shackled by that atrocity known as class, and you'll have my $15/mo.
        Ultima Online [uoherald.com]

        Over a decade old, and it is a classless, skill-based system just like the amazing innovation that is Oblivion.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Gideon Fubar (833343)
          to quote a UO playing friend of mine "please go die in a chemical fire".

          UO is terrible. It was only acceptable when it was released because it was the only thing most people knew about as far as persistent online games were concerned, and even then that's because Sierra didn't advertise The Realm anywhere near enough.

          UO suffered (and in some cases still suffers) from terrible gameplay and lag issues, as well as having a solid community of griefers, necessitating a shard system which removes PvP from the gam
          • by Reason58 (775044)

            necessitating a shard system which removes PvP from the game completely for anyone who wants to play without being constantly pwned and teabagged by Legends and Epics
            There were no "legendaries" or "epics" in UO when they implemented Trammel. Everyone was on equal ground as far as gear. Your character's skills and your personal skill is what separated the good players from the dead. You sound like you are just parroting rhetoric someone else told you.
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Gideon Fubar (833343)
              Indeed there were no Legendaries or Epics. These skill levels were added in Kingdom Reborn, with a client just as buggy and useless as the original, touting an 'advanced 3d engine' which still used some of the same sprites from the original client. Great.

              You know WHY they were added? Because the game that essentially defined the grind wasn't grindy enough anymore.

              Your stab is noted, btw.. if i could think up a witty retort, i would have done so already. Instead, i'll just stand amazed and gape because y
            • To clarify, i apologise for mixing metaphors, but i'm really, honestly not sure why you suggested UO.. The OP was looking for an MMO with gameplay like oblivion. The only thing they have even remotely in common is their skill system, and even then it's not the same..

              As far as skill is concerned, on Oceania (at least.. i couldn't play anywhere else..) what seperated the good players from the dead was ping times.
              • by Dimentox (678813)
                I could mention SecondLife has sims that run their own MMO, complete with skills powers and loot xp you name it.. Look up DCS when your in SL
          • by Jaqenn (996058)
            Ever look into non-EA emulated shards? Here's my favorite: http://www.game-master.net/ [game-master.net]
        • Too bad it's static, the AI sucks, and extremely overcrowded - even now with its low subscription numbers. I did the calculations at one point, and the overall population density per square "meter" of the gameworld (if a square meter is equal to a tile) is something like 3.5:1. I took the overall population, because that's what contributes to house-spam - not current logged-in characters.

          If they had stuck to the original PvP system, the original ecosystem concept (originally all creatures needed to eat - b
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nick_davison (217681)
        That being said, I would drop cash in a heartbeart to play a MMORPG with Oblivion-like gameplay.

        The best thing about Oblivion is what happens to it when it's modded. Almost every single PC review will talk about how the available mods turn it in to the game it should have been - from interface enhancements to losing powerless vampires and demons at low level and losing indestructable uber wolves at high level. The biggest complaints most reviews seem to have with its expansions is that they play with the mo
      • by mcvos (645701)

        I would drop cash in a heartbeart to play a MMORPG with Oblivion-like gameplay.

        Oh definitely! Instead of gold farming and the endless grind for experience points, we'll get to see people running and bouncing all over the place, or standing ankle deep in water to train their Light Armour skill. Should be fun to watch.

      • by CokoBWare (584686)
        A first person shooter MMO... Oblivion-Online FPS MMO... Oblivion is an adventure/RPG in first person perspective. Nobody has yet created the ultimate FPS MMO from what I can recall. One day it will happen, but any storyline or character progression immediately moved it closer to the realm of RPG-land. I think FPSs will only make it as far as the crop of FPSs with their online compontents, BF series, UT series, Quake series, FEAR, etc.
    • by IhuntCIA (1099827)
      Only one more.

      The one that is not all about grinding.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @06:23PM (#20078543) Homepage Journal
    One of the best parts of the gameplay of Oblivion was the thief skills. Any house you want you can pick the lock, steal goods and sell them to fences. Only the best thieves get access to the best fences. There's even a mythology around it: the mysterious Gray Fox!

    Compare this to 99% of online games where thieves are universally hated on. The sneak skills don't work. The pickpocket skills only work on poor NPCs and mobs. Lock picking is virtually non-existent.

    Virtual world designers hate thieves because they don't play the game in straight lines. They're not trying to get more kit or grind up levels. They're more like hackers, trying to find the interesting nooks and crannies of the game. Using the thief skills you can finish every mission in Oblivion almost without killing a single monster. Fine for a single player game, but how do you balance such awesome skills in a competitive online world?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fotbr (855184)
      You completely nerf them and turn TES into yet another generic hack/n/slash grind fest.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rui del-Negro (531098)
        They already did that to TES. It's called "Oblivion".
        • by fotbr (855184)
          While mostly true, there is a lot of oblivion you can do without killing anything.
          • True, you can choose the alternative style of play which consists of following the green arrow and clicking where you're told by the pop-up messages. In fact, I hear that for TES V they've decided to take the concept further, and the game will play itself without any human intervention.

            • by fotbr (855184)
              And the circle is complete, we've rolled back to the late 90s where having a 10 minute cutscene every 5 minutes was considered "good" gameplay.
              • Well, Origin had the honesty to classify those games as "Interactive Movies". And they made some of the best RPGs ever (Ultima VII is probably the peak of the RPG genre).

                Anyway, the problem with Oblivion aren't the cutscenes (which are weak but thankfully few). The problem with Oblivion is they tried to make a "RPG" for 10 year old players with consoles. The result is a bit like trying to make an "intellectual" version of Mortal Kombat or a "realistic" version of Super Mario. It's just the wrong kind of app
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @06:49PM (#20078827) Homepage
      Only the best thieves get access to the best fences. There's even a mythology around it: the mysterious Gray Fox!

      You mean he's a fence in addition to being a crazy cyborg ninja?!
    • Make pocket-picking success depend on something like intelligence, awareness, whatever, of the victim...something that's likely to help you no matter what type of role you play, and improve as you level up. Throw in a luck factor, but ensure that it's very rare for you to be able to pick the pocket of somebody of equivalent attributes to your own. Also make the skill improve on a slower curve than anti-pick-pocketing, so no matter how good you get, the biggest prizes are always hard. Add in something lik
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuantumG (50515)
        Yep, that's exactly the kind of nerfing I'm talking about. If it's illegal to kill people, it should be illegal to kill thieves. The "NPC Police" should arrest thieves and make them serve appropriate sentences.. assuming of course that your world works that way. If you use death as the punishment for everything then yeah, your system works just fine. As for flagging people.. that's one of my pet hates. Nothing like sneaking into a house, making sure you're not see, making sure you're wearing an appropr
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jdigriz (676802)
          In Eve-Online, death is not really death, a can thief will just get his ship blown up if he loses. So the NPC police in this case are just turning a blind eye to one property crime as a result of another. Even if the aggrieved kills the pilot in the escape pod, the pilot has a clone stashed away on a space station which then gets activated, and the game goes on. As for banking, many of these swords and sorcery games are actually set at a tech level similar to the early Renaissance period rather than the
          • by QuantumG (50515)
            Banks were also trivially to rob up until the 1800s.

          • by MMaestro (585010)
            Except for the fact that medieval MMO's treat banks as a catch-all, store anything, retrieve half way around the globe, impossible to be broken into and have its contents stolen, free public service with little to no cost to the customers, for an indefinite period of time system. To add insult to injury against would-be thieves, Blizzard doesn't even offer a half-assed explanation to why a bank in WoW is an empty building without a vault or how the Auction House can store thousands of items at any given tim
            • by walnutmon (988223) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:38AM (#20082581)
              I agree... Wow would be MUCH better if the cities had a massive room, and every time you transacted a peice of business the banker walked into the massive room and locked up your stuff. It would be REALLY fucking cool if my stuff could be stolen while I was offline too! I mean, that would really kick ass!

              You are full of awesome ideas. You know what bothers the hell out of me about WoW?! I can eat a razor tail pot pie, and NEVER have to go use a toilet. What the fuck is the deal with that?! I want to HAVE to take shits! That would give Taurens an advantage, because they would have bigger colons than gnomes, and wouldn't have to take potty breaks as often.

              And can we get some fucking virtual grooming?! How do they reconcile the fact that my dwarf NEVER needs to clip his toe nails... Things like that really ruin a game for me.
              • by QuantumG (50515)
                Point taken. Realism != fun. Thing is, it's cries like yours that take any sort of PvP gameplay off the table. It's thanks to players like you that we have "consensual" duels. It's thanks to players like you that all these games are so boring and have so little challenge and anyone who just grinds through can make it to a high level.

                • by brkello (642429)
                  Last time I checked, WoW has non-consensual PvP. At least on the "PvP" servers. And I don't know how you get what type of player this guy is just because he points out the obvious...having Oblivion style thieves in MMORPGs would be really annoying. Sure, some people would like it...but for people like that you have Eve.
                • A duel is, by nature, a consentual act. Otherwise it is murder. I'd like to point out, while I am posting, that most people don't seem to realize that if thieves really had thieving skills, they would be have to be nearly useless in combat situations due to skill balancing. A thief character should never be able to come close to holding their own in a fair fight. And fights will invariable be fair since the environment itself is not so interactive. Just don't let em catch you! They'll kill you, take t
                • by walnutmon (988223)
                  Yeah, I may have gone off the deep end a bit, in the interest of funny... I actaully really like the idea of non consentual PVP, even within your own faction, the problem is it would be really difficult to balance. I don't play WoW anymore, but if a game comes out with a really well balanced PVP system like that (don't say EVE, I want to hit people with swords) I would be down for that.
        • Nothing like sneaking into a house, making sure you're not see, making sure you're wearing an appropriate disguise, grabbing the loot and then discovering that you have been magically tagged as a thief and now everyone wants to kill you.

          I think I was pretty clear on that point...if you get caught, you get flagged. If not, no flag.
          I didn't play Oblivion for more than 40 hours (just couldn't get into it, dunno why...), but if you prefer it be handled by the cops, I see no reason you couldn't run it like Mo
      • It's a little hard to describe how I'd want thieving to work in TES Online. If it worked exactly like in the offline games, you'd have high level thieves picking on low level newbies. The logical fix for this is a maximum level difference between thief and victim, but the way Elder Scrolls games work, I doubt that would be the best way. I would want characters to have a "total worth" threshold, so when their total worth, including equipment, money and items, exceeds a certain value, they are fair game fo
        • by ZorbaTHut (126196)
          Too many artificial barriers, IMHO.

          I'm going to second the way EVE Online does it. It's quite possible to be nearly 100% safe from gankers in space, even mining. However, there's basically three ways to mine: directly into cargo hold, into secure can, and into jetcan. The third is by far more efficient, but it opens you up to being stolen from.

          I like that dynamic. "Here's some options. You can do it safely or quickly. Your choice." And anyone who chooses the "safe" method is, indeed, safe.

          And anyone who cho
          • Maybe players could keep some money in their shoes! That would be safe from thieves who go for their money pouch :P. I like your idea too. I think the idea of a "secure vault" isn't perfect though... What would be better is if no vault was totally secure, but was secure enough to keep your average thief out. Therefore, a thief and friends of high enough skill, could get through some security things (locks, traps and the like), some large guardian creatures (and player characters in the employ of the ba
            • by ZorbaTHut (126196)
              The problem with that is griefers. A lot of high-level players would go after the newbies just for the sake of driving newbies out of the game. That's a bad idea. Having security based in any way on the player's advancement through the game is guaranteed to end up with an incredibly newbie-hostile game, and adding weird artificial barriers creates all sorts of bizarre effects at the borders which are rarely good.

              The advantage to Eve's techniques is that even rank newbies can use the most secure methods - in
      • Stealing is fine for single player games. Unfortunately, thieving is a huge grief mechanic in multiplayer games. It goes all the way back to the death robed thieves hanging out near the bank in Ultima Online.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by morari (1080535)
      Many designers don't seem to appreciate anything that will make soft players cry, such as being pick pocketed or killed by another player. Such popular safeguards only drag MMOs further down into the "waste of time" pit as opposed to elevating them into the "immersing world" category.
      • This is because "soft" players are the ones that don't cost more bandwidth money than their subscription fee.
    • The MUDS I used to play gave thieves a backstab skill.
      If you snuck into a room and used backstab to start a fight, it would deal ridiculous damage.

      I'd like to see this implemented in a 3D game.
      The sneak skill could actually reduce the character's opacity/reflectivity.

      If the player gets behind a mob/player, he can hit the backstab key for a very high damage, or instant-kill even.

      • by QuantumG (50515)
        I believe rogue class characters in WoW have a backstab skill. Isn't that great of course.

        • Says someone who has never been innocently picking an herb and then an instant later been dead after some random rogue nailed you with a crit that did twice your hitpoints in damage.

          Say a lot of things about rogues in WoW, but you can't throw down on their combat and stealth skills (the rest of their skills, YES)...They are extremely solid. The main tactic against a rogue is to "outlast" his initial damage rush...If you can do that, you have a chance to counterattack while he is gathering energy for another
      • by Knara (9377)
        Both DAoC and WoW thieves have this ability to backstab for quite a few years now. Other PC/NPC players' ability to see those "stealthed" thieves depends, I believe, on their perception skills and how quickly/slowly the thief moves.
      • by Rocky (56404)
        FFXI Thief Sneak Attack/Trick Attack.

        Everyone has one LOL.
    • by Sibko (1036168)

      One of the best parts of the gameplay of Oblivion was the thief skills. Any house you want you can pick the lock, steal goods and sell them to fences. Only the best thieves get access to the best fences. There's even a mythology around it: the mysterious Gray Fox!

      Compare this to 99% of online games where thieves are universally hated on. The sneak skills don't work. The pickpocket skills only work on poor NPCs and mobs. Lock picking is virtually non-existent.

      Virtual world designers hate thieves because they don't play the game in straight lines. They're not trying to get more kit or grind up levels. They're more like hackers, trying to find the interesting nooks and crannies of the game. Using the thief skills you can finish every mission in Oblivion almost without killing a single monster. Fine for a single player game, but how do you balance such awesome skills in a competitive online world?

      On the flipside, the lockpicking mechanism in Oblivion was an absolutely terrible implementation for an RPG, due to the fact that it required player input to be done successfully, rather than relying on any stats. It doesn't matter if you're maxed out in lockpicking, if you're really terrible at the lockpicking mini-game, you won't even be able to open the simplest locks, [although you can have the game do it for you.] and if you're really good at it, then a level 100 lock isn't going to stop you, even at

    • If this was implemented in an on-line environment there won't be anything in the world to steal.

      If you don't think that PCs won't take anything and everything that isn't nailed down then you're wrong. Within a week of play all house holds in the game will be stripped bare.
    • by IhuntCIA (1099827)
      Watch as they hate on thieves

      MMOG developers don't hate on thieves, they just need a way to keep players playing the content, and the best way is to grind for the resources, reputation, honor, like everyone else does. Thieves don't need to grind as much as others since they can pickpocket the enemy, lock pick the resources, and they can hide, back stab and garrote, no one needs honor for that. Grinding MMOGs are preventing players from trying to play any other game as they will fall behind their guild ma
  • Ugh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Drachemorder (549870) <brandon@[ ]istia ... g ['chr' in gap]> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @07:18PM (#20079097) Homepage
    Just as long as this doesn't steal time, resources, or people from their single-player RPGs, I'm okay with it. But if it does, even just a little, I will detest it. I hate MMOs.

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