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The Rise of Originality In MMOs 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-go-my-chances-for-a-starcon-mmo dept.
Karen Hertzberg writes "Over the last half decade, gamers have been forced to wander through familiar worlds and universes. Studios have been licensing IPs left and right, grabbing everything from the Wheel of Time to Star Trek. Originality seemed to be a lost art, and although these worlds were fun to adventure in, many didn't hold the same sort of magical spell that original titles like EverQuest or Dark Age of Camelot once enjoyed. But change is coming. Blizzard Entertainment revealed that their next MMO would be an original IP, and this year's E3 lineup featured more brand new games than titles derived from existing worlds. So, why the sudden shift? To answer that question, Ten Ton Hammer's Cody 'Micajah' Bye sent a number of questions to original IP development teams across the world."
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The Rise of Originality In MMOs

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  • by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:09AM (#28263553) Journal

    Call me when it's not just another minor variation on D20. That was my disappointment, coming from "Tradewars" into the graphical RPGs. After five minutes, "so.. it's just a dice-rolling game, then?"

    I mean.. Yahtzee with a story behind it only works for so long before you have to change something other than just the story.

    • Re:meh. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rhsanborn (773855) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:45AM (#28263721)
      As an old EverQuest player, I found that - aside from the endless grinding, sitting to regen mana, 28 minute spawn timers.... - there were strategies to many areas of the game, and part of the fun was figuring out those strategies, mastering them, and doing it with a team. Often a big team. Yes, there were lots of flaws, but I think it far surpassed Yahtzee with pretty pictures.

      That said, I'm actually curious if some of these titles wouldn't do better with regular wipes and refreshes. I have had a very hard time getting into any MMO after the original EQ in large part because I always feel like I'm diving into something that isn't new, it's all already been discovered, guides posted, etc. I think it would be nice to have some MMOs that have fixed time-lines or a clever way to regularly make everyone restart, etc.
      • Re:meh. (Score:5, Funny)

        by nschubach (922175) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:46AM (#28264161) Journal

        Hell, breaking a camp was almost a fine art.

        Not to mention navigating complex dungeons, exploring, bringing along the right class that allowed you to actually GO there (water breathing, crowd control, etc.)

        Today's MMOs are like riding the subway. One path, the people riding along probably smell, are inconsiderate, and they all looks the same.

        • Re:meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Frigga's Ring (1044024) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @10:01AM (#28265049)

          Today's MMOs are like riding the subway. One path, the people riding along probably smell, are inconsiderate, and they all looks the same.

          That statement applies to most video games not just MMOs. However, unlike most games, subscription MMOs are heavily reliant on the number of players. A subscription-based MMO with too few players probably won't survive for long. So the developers have to find a balance between accessibility and challenge.

          Make your game less challenging and you'll annoy the dedicated players. Make your game less accessible, however, and you risk driving off a majority of your subscription base. While I want a challenging MMO as much as the next guy, I want one that will survive.

          With regards to your comments on "breaking camp", I remember well those days in the Northern Desert of Ro. I also remember the early days in Upper Blackrock Spire where crowd control was absolutely essential. While I do miss those days a bit, I also remember waiting an hour just to find a group to kill the same couple of camps over and over and over. I also remember ten-man UBRS runs taking more than two hours just to have the boss drop a chest piece for a class not even in the group. Those are not the days I want to relive. Heck, I don't even have time in my life to play games that work like that anymore.

          • by rhsanborn (773855)
            I was very fond of the dungeon crawls added by the LDoN expansion on EQ1. It recycled itself frequently, everyone was getting something (exp, and points for the store), had some action, etc.
        • by NightRain (144349)

          Today's MMOs are like riding the subway. One path...

          Assuming that was the meat of your complaint, you should try EVE or one of the very few sandbox games out there. There is no "one path" in them. There is "Ok, you're out of training, go find your own thing to do, we're not going to help you any further"

          • by nschubach (922175)

            Sorry, but I don't want to play a spreadsheet in space. ;) Besides, I hate how the skills are developed over time instead of on how much time you put into them. Also, there's no such thing as a complicated dungeon in space. It's just space. Not to mention, PvP ... There's so much about Eve that completely turns me off that it's just not funny. If I wanted to run a corporation and transport goods from dock to dock, I'd do it in real life. Since I can't kill orcs and delve to the depths of the underwo

            • by NightRain (144349)
              Fair enough, it's not for everyone. But like it or not, it is a good example of a game that does not have "one path"
      • Re:meh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:10AM (#28264381) Journal

        > I think it would be nice to have some MMOs that have fixed time-lines or a clever way to regularly make everyone restart, etc.

        Currently what many do is go bankrupt and hold a final event.

        I've played Archmage (a web and turn based online game) before, and ending was part of the game. You had people trying to get the game to end early (cast "armageddon") and people trying to stop them... Armageddon was inevitable though even if nobody casted it - the server would go into it eventually. Then the top 10 players end up on some "top ranking list". []

        The big problem with "final events" (e.g. say a "final" huge war in WoW) is naturally very many players would want to play during them. Then the servers might fall over and everyone gets pissed off.

        That's fine if you're intending to close down the game, but not fine if you're not :).

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Then the servers might fall over and everyone gets pissed off.

          s/might/do. All the big popular games suffer from this, since they design for mean, median or modal cases and just roll over and die when a big raid (whether of Goblin Knob, or Star System Blandonia) kicks off.

          Eve: Online's method of dealing with it is to fill in a form requesting some bigger iron for the location and duration of your raid. "Please fill in the location, date and time of your surprise attack".

          • by LordKazan (558383)

            heh you make that sound like the suprisees are somehow tipped off to the bigger iron.. they're not. the big iron doesn't make a difference in jump time until there are a LOT of people in the system.

            but a system with 800 people in multiple fleets all duking it out and it doesn't sneeze while the total active connections gamewide is 48000+ ... that's well designed


      • there were strategies to many areas of the game, and part of the fun was figuring out those strategies, mastering them, and doing it with a team. Often a big team. Yes, there were lots of flaws, but I think it far surpassed Yahtzee with pretty pictures.

        I played DAoC as my first and only MMO and I agree with you 100%. It was more than just dice rolls. There was real strategy involved and player skill as well.

      • by Smidgin (912451)

        That said, I'm actually curious if some of these titles wouldn't do better with regular wipes and refreshes. I have had a very hard time getting into any MMO after the original EQ in large part because I always feel like I'm diving into something that isn't new, it's all already been discovered, guides posted, etc. I think it would be nice to have some MMOs that have fixed time-lines or a clever way to regularly make everyone restart, etc.

        While resets and that sort of thing are fun and they make the game accessible, they run counter to the main thing that keeps people playing MMO(RPG)s - gaining levels, collecting loot, and various other trinkets and signs of wealth and seniority. The thing about MMOs is people pay per month, which means to be successful they need to keep people playing - what keeps people playing is acquiring stuff, because people like to have more stuff than others. What's more, if they stop playing they might miss out on

        • by rhsanborn (773855)
          I agree. The reset method shouldn't replace existing MMO's, etc. I think it's more a personal preference for a slightly new and different form.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      "so.. it's just a dice-rolling game, then?"

      Not even a dice rolling game, unless you count the semi-random selection of NCP attacks, and loot drops. The actual mechanics of modern ORPGs don't have random factors, just "damage per second". Heroism by spreadsheet. Eventually all ORPGs will be Progress Quest [].

      • by LordKazan (558383)

        DPS is a number expressing your AVERAGE damage per second - that factors in probability to hit, hit range, etc.

        just because something can be expressed as a simple number doesn't mean it's simple.

        DPS = Hit prob * average damage per hit * attacks per second

        in some games it's more complex than that.

        in eve online that's fine for your "baseline DPS" now to figure out your actually DPS vs a target you have to express this

        DPS = Sum[EM, Thermal, Kinetic, Explosive]

        Where each damage type DPS is = Your hit probabilit

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Ah, so heroism by spreadsheet is is then?

          • by LordKazan (558383)

            just because you can calculate average damage numbers doesn't mean that PVP doesn't require tactics. Yes PvE with the vs the old AI mobs in Eve is pretty much "do atleast this damage, permatank atleast this much"

            but against other players and against the new Sleepers AI you need more than that, you need tactics.

    • Re:meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @10:19AM (#28265277) Journal

      I mean.. Yahtzee with a story behind it only works for so long before you have to change something other than just the story.

      Yeah, it's not like it could be the basis for a genre of gaming that's been around for 30 years or anything. Snobby dismissals aside, it's a formula that works and has been immensely popular, and will continue to be.

      • True. Although a lot of those people are boring.

        The real problem, for me, is that in the MMO world, only a precious few aren't based on D20, and they are often functionally nearly equivalent, and they simply don't have the resources of the large game houses to get the polish they need anyway.

        Now, if you could point out even one mmorpg (other than second life) that, if it has a combat mechanic, is deterministic (even something like the vga version of Quest for Glory II would be an improvement), i'd be much

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Yahtzee with a story behind it only works for so long before you have to change something other than just the story.

      So I take it you weren't a big fan of Yahtzee Warriors Online: Ivory Tales then?

  • It's the newest social networking fad, a place of unparalleled delights and frightening possibilities. It's First Life [], a new Massively Multiplayer Offline Reality Playing Game, produced by Jehovah Labs six thousand years ago and only accelerating in popularity.

    While First Life is referred to as a game, it does not have points, scores, fixed levels or an end-strategy. The environment is known to players as "The Real World." As of June 2009, over six billion users are in the World at any one time. It is famous for its ultra-realistic play and its amazing high-resolution 3-D graphics, framerate and physics engine.

    In First Life, you are assigned a body type. You cannot trade it up or easily change its basic characteristics, though you can outfit it in various ways.

    "It's weird," said one player. "You can hardly buy cool replacement penises anywhere. But sex in First Life is amazing. It's really hard to level up to, though, and it cost me a fortune."

    Many now suggest that First Life could be a passing fad, with the World being all but abandoned after a few decades. But nearly half of all Americans who belong to the First Life community claim that it is almost as important as the virtual world.

    Some worry about the apparently addictive nature of First Life. The huge growth in reality gaming in the last century means a sharp increase in the numbers of people who take their passion for the hobby too far. "I know of people who are spending their week's holiday from EverQuest playing First Life. An addiction to a game like this is far more costly in time than any substance. Keep track of time, make sure your Eve Online characters don't go stale."

    In the game, you can buy accessories for your character with an exchange mechanism called "money." People have started working in First Life to earn "money." Part of the addiction problem is "jobs" - in which players have to perform long-winded, mindless tasks, up to forty hours a week or even more, to bring up their levels and gain access to more adventure.

    Stories of gamers spending ten to fifteen hours a day in First Life are becoming more frequent. And the impact that is having on their families is quite distressing for some. "He said that if he could spend 24 hours a day in the World, he would," sobbed the avatar of one player's mother. "His Kingdom of Loathing character's died of neglect. An Adventurer isn't Him any more."

    The Archbishop of Alphaville condemned First Life's moral integrity. "Whoever designed First Life has watched too much EastEnders and read too much Tom Clancy. It's a psychosexual nightmare given virtual form, where giant flying penises are nowhere to be seen and disturbed people fail to wear even slightly less disgusting forms when having repulsive intercourse."

    • by Barny (103770)

      Bleh, as a prequal (to second life) it sounds at least an improvement, although I hear the leveling system sucks, and gold farmers ruin it at the high end.

      And who could care less to wait till lvl 18 before you can get player transportation.

      Interesting PK system though.

      • But dude. The graphics! The physics! The avatar! The interface!

        You don't even need a computer! Though it is helpful for communication and stuff.

        • by Barny (103770)

          Meh, have you SEEN some of the avatars around? I mean some are damn well done, but some... jeebus save us.

          The interface takes a few YEARS to get used to, but I grant you it is pretty effective, I hear there is a promised upgrade to that in the works, something about implants.

          As for the graphics, meh, all the screen shots I seen look photoshopped [].

      • Well, it's got permadeath. Or technically... I suppose I'll find out when I lose this character.

        • by Barny (103770)

          Yeah, no one has bothered to reply to my tells after that point, so the game must get REALLY frickin good then...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      I played this a while back and it totally sucked.

      • Yeah, not only is it hard to actually get into various Jobs in that game, but when you do... they're just like doing work! Not only that, but you may have to spend several years training before you're even allowed to get said Job!

      • by bughunter (10093)
        Aye, same here. And just like every other time before, I wound up going back to WoW.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by unfasten (1335957)

      It's a psychosexual nightmare given virtual form, where giant flying penises are nowhere to be seen...

      Actually that's not quite true [].

      (Or if you don't trust a direct link to the video just do a video search for 'flying dildo')

    • by elgenn (1564937)
      heh.. quite funny actually.. :)
    • by kalirion (728907)

      Too much grinding for my taste.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:11AM (#28263565) Homepage Journal

    but if you use an artificially short time span you wouldn't see it. I guess that makes the story easier.

    In the realm of MMORPG you could claim EQ was original IP when it came out, so was Asheron's Call (very different from any MMORPG then and since - if anything it had many features that need to exist in newer MMORPGS).

    Still I can summarize the need for original IP.

    Expectations are set to high especially if the IP is well known. Witness LOTRO. They are literally handcuffed by the novels and every feature is measured by rabid fans against whatever they deem as cannon. For Blizzard to create a new IP means that we don't have to worry about Starcraft being crammed into a MMORPG and will see good RTS games on it. Diablo too will not be hammered into some form alien from what made it so fun to play.

    The reason to not use original IP. Because it can provide consistency and take care a lot of the work needed to give a world life. Many things can be glossed over relying on the player to know the history from the original IP. Why does mob X do that? Well if you had read the novels, seen the movie, etc, you would inherently know. A few patches in and some NPC might be wise enough. Plus it justifies what otherwise might be considered stupid abilities or traits on npcs/mobs/pcs that exist.

    As for other companies, oh well, lets hope someone can figure out the right combination to at least get their original IP seen. The problem with many is they promise the moon and deliver a steaming piile.

    • by Hubbell (850646)
      If anything MORE MMO's need to embrace almost all the features of AC. The fast/fluid PVP (albeit this was due to a bug they could NEVER replicate with coding that allowed for sliding while casting/performing an action and allowed for the best pvp to date in any MMO), the level of quality of the lore (none of the new shit, but 1999 - ~2001 or maybe even 2002 or 3, but after turbine took over shit only went downhill), the ability to really feel like you ARE a hero and take on dozens of mobs at a time and com
    • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:14AM (#28263899)

      If you define "originality" as having original IP in an established genre (and possibly with the same game mechanics 20 other MMORPGs had before) then there is no shortage of it. Any MMO developer who puts together some generic fantasy background story instead of buying the license for an existing one qualifies.

      Personally, I think a MMORPG needs at least one major feature that is not already established in similar form to be called original. That feature can either be the setting or a major part of the game mechanics. With that premise, the list of original MMORPGS becomes much shorter. Those I can list offhand, partly based on Wikipedia because I did not play them myself:
      -Ultima Online: The founder of the genre. You can't be more original than that :-)
      -Everquest: Brought 3D to MMORPGs. I guess that counts as "major part of the game mechanics". But most fantasy MMORPGS that came after that are just Everquest clones.
      -DAOC: Realm versus Realm as major focus.
      -Star Wars Galaxies: SciFi as setting, also may be the first MMORPG that had a deep and complex player economy (going from reports here, never played it myself).
      -Jumpgate: The first MMORPG that actually had players flying spaceships, and player skill based on top of that.
      -Eve Online: Space MMO with huge game world and strong strategic elements. Allows players to gain sovereignty of unpoliced space ("0.0 space"), with room for many factions.
      -Neocron, for the post-apocalyptic, somewhat Mad Max-like setting.
      -Auto Assault, again for the setting (and defunct by now).
      -Pirates of the Burning Sea: At least, the setting is new. Plus some of the game mechanics seem original too.

      So that is nine original ones I can come up with on short notice. Compared to the huge number of existing MMORPGs, a rather poor yield :-(

      • There are smaller bits of originality in there, as well: Warhammer online added new class archetypes to the standard bevy (the most entertaining being the defensive rdps) and some new stuff as far as group synergy goes. Aion's shaping up to be oriented around 3-d tactics to a much greater degree than any previous game, flight sims aside (it's live in asia... don't judge me! *sob*). Guild wars' scenario-by-scenario ability selection makes it fairly unique as a game, and the payment system is sane, which i
      • I would add City of Heroes. Completely different focus (no equipment and originally no Purples or shinnies) and original setting.
      • by Itninja (937614)
        Don't forget City of Heroes. First superhero MMORPG. Completely detached from all IP (e.g. not based on a novel, comic, movie).
      • How about a Space game with no fixed locations of importance? The only thing important are very large ships. Star systems, planets, moons, and asteroids are just desolate locations where you can get basic resources. (This also makes it easier to procedurally generate universes with *billions* of star systems.)

        All of the important things need to be reached by ships with long-range warp capacity. At the beginning, players have ships which can't jump between star systems, and they must attain berths on NPC

        • Sounds like an interesting alternative to EVE Online. Where EVE is big, this could be bigger and casually grow with the number of players. Where adding new star systems is an obvious change in EVE, adding new motherships would seem more natural.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you don't use an original IP, players trying to connect to your servers will connect to your competitors instead. You don't want that.
    • by khendros (1567267)
      As someone who played Asheron's Call for several years, I found it to definitely be a different experience. The developers at Turbine didn't want their game to be the typical dragons and orcs. They modified and created new creatures and races... they even had decently interesting back story. What I really enjoyed was Asheron's Call 2 even though it was never as popular as it's predecessor. I enjoyed taking out the new races for a spin, testing out wildly different class mechanics from other games, and expl
    • by hurfy (735314)

      All this about original IP and AC barely gets a footnote, while all the tolkien based ones are called original :(

      Of course, Asheron's Call and it's fairly weak showing is probably what convinced the others to go for the brand recognition along with the standard character/monster sets. Some very imaginative stuff.

      Whizbane (semi-retired in his cottage on Mattekar Slopes)

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:34AM (#28263673)

    Announcing "The Rise of Originality" because Blizzard basically said they're going to do an MMO which is not based on an existing story is like announcing the rise of a new city because you saw a building shaped cloud in the sky.

    For one thing, it's all talk at this stage - I do believe that Duke Nukem Forever stands as a shinning example of what exactly "just talk" is worth.

    For another thing, just because it's not a downright copy of an existing story, doesn't mean it's not something similar to an existing MMO or a merging of existing models (like a WoW-clone but in space).

    Is the OP trying to "create some buzz" as part of a viral marketing campaign, drive potential clicks to the adverts on a website's pages or just being a Blizzard fanboy?

    • thats the problem, is there is no originality. i ran a mud for 6 years. learned to code by myself. I miss it so bad. starting with a 100k mud file and broadening it out to over 10 megs is no easy feat. ive played more mmo's then i care to count, or remember. honestly, I almost prefer mudding, as it was original, or felt original. we made our own critters, how we wanted. we did not have to worry about ip rights, on a store area, for something someone else made. what is worse, is that these mmo dev t
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Coming up with your own Tolkien/D&D-derived IP to wrap around your generic DikuMUD clone doesn't strike me as being any more original than licensing somebody else's (probably more cohesive and interesting) IP.

    As for the question, if it's even a legitimate one, of why a game like EverQuest had more fantasy verisimilitude than WoW, it's because EQ was willing to sacrifice casual-friendly, "gamey" aspects for the sake of creating a fantasy world simulator. Blizzard, OTOH, never wants you to forget that WoW

  • Original? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tachys (445363) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:35AM (#28263685)

    Can you say they are that original when they basically have AD&D/Lord of the Rings races in them?

    • by Bicx (1042846) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:03AM (#28263839)
      J.R. Tolkien was an avid WoW player with 3 toons at level 80, so I really think Lord of the Rings was just an overblown roleplay post.
    • Can you say they are that original when they basically have AD&D/Lord of the Rings races in them?

      I guess original is a relative term.
      Nonetheless, using Tolkien characters has been par for the course for any role-playing experience as long as the genre has been around.

      I'd like to see something totally out there and new too but... baby steps :P

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cabjf (710106)
      Can you say AD&D/Lord of the Rings are that original when they basically have European folklore races in them?

      For example, the Volsunga saga and the Poetic Edda served as inspiration to both Tolkien and Wagner. []
      • But Tolkien's conception of elves are pretty much wholly his. Norse elves would are more like a cross between dwarves and leprechauns. All this stuff about immortality, being the "firstborn" and crossing over the ocean had nothing to do with elves until Tolkien came along.
        (Norse Dwarves on the other hand, are in many ways more interesting than Tolkien's - and far more than D&D's, at least)

    • by nschubach (922175)

      I think it's more about familiarity. People coming into a game who really like elves from (insert book here) will likely be more comfortable if their character modeled that somewhat.

      (I do see your point though...)

  • Really?
  • One of the first MMO's, Asheron's Call, has been around since 1999 and is still going today. It is based on a completely unique world and lore that's not used in any other game, book, or movie. IMO it's the best MMO ever made, and I've played a bunch of them. Characters are completely customizable (skill-based ala UO), it has a full hardcore PvP server, and combat is based more on skill than on your level or equipment.
  • by Xest (935314)

    I want original content.

    Seriously, I like the Warcraft IP, what I didn't like is that WoW was just a combined clone of every MMO that had existed before it, just like every other MMO now is a clone of WoW.

    Until we can move away from the situation where enemies are more stupid than your average rock and quests are about as exciting as your weekly shopping trip to the supermarket (Well in fact less so, my average shopping list has more variation than your average quest task list) then I don't see anything to

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      WoW was just a combined clone of every MMO that had existed before it, just like every other MMO now is a clone of WoW

      So every MMO is just a clone of every other MMO...?

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      In regards to FPS shooter MMO's.. new ones keep failing for various reasons not specific to being FPS's.
    • "I want original content."

      So, you want Anarchy Online?

    • by Creepy (93888)

      Well you're getting your wish in one respect - MMORPG first person shooter Huxley [] just went into public beta. Most isometric and sprite based games these days are asian browser based games.

      There's also a MMORPG third person shooter coming called Global Agenda [] but I don't know much more about it other than the video on the site. I saw some E3 footage of that one, otherwise I'd have never heard of it.

  • While the concepts involved are not new; city building, siege warfare, massive pvp battles, crafting just about EVERYTHING ingame, ships, full loot ffa pvp; they are all together for pretty much the first time in a new IP, and so far I and everyone else who managed to get the balls to leave the newb zones either solo or in a guild, have come to love the game. [] 3rd Largest ship in the game, it's massive, and there are 2 larger ships with even more guns for broadsid
  • Original IP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:07AM (#28263863) Journal
    When did we start saying 'IP' when we meant 'ideas?' A game can have original IP just by having an original trademarked name. That's not the same as being based on an original concept.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jerep (794296)

      I agree, this whole Intellectual Property concept has gone too far, it's more about money than about ideas these days, and that is a very sad thing cause its us customers who end up paying the big price in the end. Here are our freedoms, filled with so many cheesy products that we spend most of our time filtering through them to find a gem, that's not freedom to me, feels more like being a dog who's thrown the remains of a dinner table having to sort through it all to find meat.

      On a more positive note, I si

    • by dan_sdot (721837)
      Yeah, most of the people posting here have no idea what the term "IP" means, or how to use it in a sentence. I think they mean "original ideas".
    • by kramerd (1227006)

      This is an all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares issue.

      IP is intangible property. An original trademarked name, an original concept, an unoriginal trademarked name and a stolen concept are all IP.

      Since you probably missed the point the first 2 times I stated in this post, all original trademarked names and concepts are IP, but not all IP is original concepts or trademarked names.

    • by selven (1556643)
      Trademarks are not IP. Their purpose is to prevent people from ruining other people's brand reputation by using it to sell an inferior product. Copyrights and patents, however, are intended (originally, at least) to create an incentive to create original art and science.
  • I'm excited about this, the idea of getting in on the ground floor of a new original Blizzard or other developer's MMORPG is cool.

    I'm not going to go out and buy one of these games blindly though, MMORPGs are pretty hit or miss.
    But I'm sure these will be closely watched and we'll be able to get infomation on how they progress.
  • I don't give a rat's ass if the IP is 'original' or not. All I care is whether or not the game is fun. WoW, while interesting for a while, is too much grind-fest. If Blizz's new game is the same, I won't be interested at all.

    As for 'originality'... Almost ALL the MMOs are original IP. Look at all the ones from Asia. There are -very- few that are based on something else. FreeRealms by SoE is pretty original, too, and it was just released.

    No, what we are seeing isn't a 'rise in originality', but the ta

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Vohar (1344259)

      You use Asian MMOs as an example of originality.


      I've tried almost a dozen different Asian MMOs. They're all Lineage. They all have elves/dark elves, and they all run the same anime leaning forward crouch run thing. Gameplay feels the same for almost all of them. In the West it's the WoW-clones, in the East it's the Lineage clones.

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        Read my post again. I said "original IP", since that's -all- TFA talks about. If you think -any- RPGs are 'original' from the ground up at this point you've got a reality check coming.

  • I think there are non-original IPs that one might use, that do not have the major drawbacks listed in the article. For me, the first thing that comes to mind, is Larry Niven's 'known space'. A large set of semi-independent settings, each with its own history, protagonists, etc. It offers the potential of amazing vista's, interesting characters and races, large and small storylines, etc. There is both a lot of available familiarity for fans, and although a lot of it is somewhat interconnected, I think the va
    • At level 100 you turn green and berserk at the sight of any other epic level player characters.

      You do develop a fondness toward newbs mind you.

  • Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:27AM (#28264601) Homepage Journal

    Have people become so ignorant to think EQ was original IP? No no it had no resembalance to Lord of the Rings, Warhammer, Conan, Authurian Legend, Dune, Arabian Knights, etc...

    Original is hardly the word. I think kids these days call it a "Mashup" of existing IP.

    Starcraft was dangerously close to directly lifting Warhammer 40k with Eldar=Protoss, Terran=Imperium, Zerg=Tyrannids.

    WoW while building a decent mythology still is a rip off of most fantasy fiction that came before. In fact I cannot think of one original creation in it. I think the only remotely, and I do mean remotely unique thing WoW came up with was ummm... errr... shit...

    Well anyway DAOC was British and Norse mythologies. It's IP was not all that original.

    Conan was rather unique in putting together a period of time from which there was little documentation going that far back. (Cuniform anyone?)

    Eve is hardly original, nor was planetfall. AO was cyberpunk pulled damn near out of several novels. Can't speak to Guild Wars or Shadowbane, didn't play either.

    UO and Garriot's Ultima world was unique in the representation of gargoyles and the exploration of secular humanism as a religion. The world as best I can remember it lacked a real sense of high fantasy like Lord of the Rings. It was still fantasy but was a bit more low key.

    The problem with developing new IP is that breaking from 'tradition' in fantasy can cause a good % of fans to say, "Elves would never act like that" kind of statement. If it's IP then it is a product and maximizing sales trumps creativity. I spent 15 years developing the MRL world and had 5 book agents complain after reading several drafts that, "I don't think fantasy readers are going to by a book that has evles as a bunch of slave owning, mercenary hiring, progressively going insaine butchers..."

    IP as a concept means that your creation is a product and will be treated as such. They talk numbers, this type of story will move X units, you need these 7 characters to move an additional Y units, we need this type of cover art with these colors to get the book to stand out against the following J books that will be adjactent to it on Barnes and Nobles shelves.

    Nothing feels worse then having a book agent tell you to rewrite the book because, "Demographics indicate you need a child to have effective interplay against your protaganist and the merchant in chapter 7 otherwise the reader will fatigue on the drama. Metrics also indicate that you are going to need some comic relief mid-way through chapters 4 and 9." That was the break point for me ever writing professionally.

    The only ORIGINAL IP\games I've seen come out in the last 20 years was: Pixelart and Darwinia but nether have extensive Lore attached to the IP so far.

    "We as a society have become so risk adverse we have made art and creativity a liability."

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordKazan (558383) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @10:10AM (#28265167) Homepage Journal

      literature snobbitry about how everything is just a rewrite of everything else is fairly irrelevant.

      we don't CARE that it's the same old story being told in a different arrangement. we care about the arrangement.

      • by kenp2002 (545495)

        That's just it, the arrangement isn't even all that unique. There is little snobbitry, your just not old enough or read enough to notice just how little variation there is now...

    • by Hubbell (850646)
      Blizzard was making a warhammer (warcraft) rts in conjunction with the rightsholders (i forget who it is/was) and at the last second backed out, changed the named just enough to not get sued, and released it as warcraft. They basically did the same with starcraft, only they did that independently and from the get go just used warhammer40k as an idea getter for them.
    • Even with all the clues you gave, I was unable to identify what world you are talking about.

      • by kenp2002 (545495)

        "Mystic Realms of Lore" is a fictional work I spent 15 years developing. Now that I am getting to the age where kids and married life are my priorities I decided to sit down and finalize the cannon, write a few books and get it ready to share with the generation yet to come so to speak. I spent 10 years as a dungeon master and MRL was the world I created. The Intro to the world is here: []

    • by selven (1556643)
      Orcs not being solely warmongering bad guys? That's pretty much invented by WoW.
      • by kenp2002 (545495)

        Per their own lore: Prior to the Tauren and Thrall they were solely warmongering bad guys. Hijackking NAT (North American Tribal) culture was a smart move to get away from classic orcs, even if a bit insulting.

    • StarCraft is a blatant rip-off of WarHammer 40K, just as WarCraft is a blatant ripoff of WarHammer Fantasy Battle. This has been known for some time. Why do you think Blizzard pays royalties to Games Workshop?

  • Before anyone says "Well..there's Darkfall". It's not available in North America yet, and even so it's still so new a lot of people are waiting on them to iron out the bugs before getting an account.

    Aside from that, what hardcore modern day MMO's are there? Eve? Sure I love science fiction, a lot more than I do fantasy, but Eve while having hardcore pvp is also a grindfest, I absolutely hate how the skill leveling works, you're paying for a game to basically not play it. To reach end game high level pvp
    • Why can't other MMO's do this? Why as a PvPer do I have to suffer through PvE content?

      Is an MMO what you really want though? What is sounds like you want is counter strike with more players. What many PvPers refer to as the grind other MMO players refer to as playing the game. If all you want is instant PvP action there are tons of games that support that now.

      Think about it, you want full loot PvP while at the same time wanting to reach PvP end game content quickly. If you have both of those, what makes

      • by Ka D'Argo (857749)
        No I want an MMO. I don't mind progressing levels or getting loot, if it can be done in a timely manner. Rewards should be based on skill and achievement, not time invested. This is why Guild Wars really failed, in a lot of people's eyes, cause it was directly marketed as "Players are rewarded based on personal skill not time played". Yet when it came out, those who grinded through the PvE portion were vastly superior to those who just stuck with a PvP-specific toon.

        Yes, what a lot of us want is somethin
    • As Goonswarm proved, reaching high-end PvP in EVE takes about 3 weeks if you're organized (or join someone who is). There's little you can't do with a swarm of T1 frigs, a willingness to get yourself killed and the ability to be a real dick.
  • I've been an MMO gamer nearly 10 years. EQ, Asheron's Call, EQII, WOW, Eve Online, SWG, Navy Field, World War II Online, and even DDO(Dungeons and Dragons Online). Not to mention Warhammer Online, AOC, Lineage II, Guild Wars, LOTRO, and Vanguard.

    My longest running MMO playtime is Eve online(5+ years) and Everquest(4+ years.) Until World of Warcraft, MMO's mostly catered to niche markets. EQ catered to the Dungeons and Dragons/fantasy game crowd. I remember a time when the maximum level in EQ was a 6 mo

  • I think the article is being a bit harsh on the "LOTRO is handcuffed" bit. First, LOTRO wouldn't even exist without the stories. It's a fairly generic fantasy MMO- very well done, excellent graphics and sound, etc, but it's still a standard MMO at the core. Without the legions of rabid Tolkien fans, it probably would be scraping along right now rather than being a solid title. We've seen a couple of AAA MMOs die recently and there are plenty more hanging on by virtue of high sunk costs and low running e
  • There is plenty of original IP associated with MMO games these days..... but most of that IP comes from game developers outside of the U.S. I have seen some really good IP coming out of Asia, but the ideals that the IP brings forth clashes with the American culture, and therefore usually fails when an introduction is attempted.

  • The reason we decided to create our own IP was based on the fact that we have R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane as our visionaries. -- Steve Danuser, Senior Game Designer for 38 Studios.

    Me thinks that was just a nice way of saying, "naner! naner!".

  • by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:12PM (#28267047)

    I'm happy with a high fantasy setting -- I like Paladins, am fond of Elves, have it in for Dwarves, and think Orcs should be pitied. So leave me with Western mythology, but change up the gameplay. More than anything I'd like a game where there's a slight learning curve for the controls and such, but there isn't a level distinction. Even Pippin and Merry were useful alongside the likes of Aragorn and Legolas -- but in most MMOs, the difference between a level 5 and a level 50 is between a tricycle and a battleship. Give me a game with lateral skills rather than vertical -- Pippin should be able to do some serious damage if Aragorn isn't paying attention. I'd rather see Aragorn's Battle Sense skill increase than just a number which means anyone 5 levels below can't lay a hand on him.

    And don't get me started on the World with a Purpose, thing: wolf attacks on neighboring farms cause a shortage in food at the bakers so characters either need to protect the farms or learn to hunt or starve. Then the baker's daughter earns a crush on you so you get reduced prices on your gooseberry pies, but then an orc raid captures or kills her (if only you'd been there to save her!). And when you go to collect 10 Furry Feathers, it's not just to turn into a garrison guard for XP, but it's so the garrison can continue to make arrows against those orc raids that captured the baker's daughter. People can lose a city if they don't help defend it -- can you imagine if Freeport was overrun in EQ?

    • The problem is this: Writing a _good_ linear story is hard enough; we just don't know how to write a good dynamic story, as no one really has experience in doing it well.

      But yeah, I'm bored of Static Worlds too. That was one of the things "Housing" in UO brought to the table -- I'm still waiting for another MMO to "get it."

    • I agree, it's the gameplay that keeps me coming back. I'm no lore geek for WoW, but I don't dislike it. It's a cute novelty. I've never been a MMO person much but WoW is fun to play. The mechanics and abilities of the characters are classes are fun. I love PVP, it's what keeps me going on WoW because I'm burnt out on the PVE environment. I know I'm speaking about WoW more than MMOs in general,I wish they'd find ways to make the game play more fun, from level 1-80. I hate that it's end game focused. Take so
  • The problem with many MMO's is the time investment required to gear and advance through the game. Working adults with families do not have the time (Unless they neglect their children) to commit to some MMO's because say in WOW raids can take 4+ hours and multiple days to complete. Progression raids were even worse, 4+ hours a day 4-7 days a week just to advance past a boss or two until you start outgearing the content.

    It would be reasonable to make the 5 man dungeons hard as hell, be progressive, and drop

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman