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Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs? 480

Posted by Soulskill
from the risk-is-not-our-business dept.
eldavojohn writes "I have a slightly older friend who played through the glory days of Ultima Online. Yes, their servers are still up and running, but he often waxes nostalgic about certain gameplay functions of UO that he misses. I must say that these aspects make me smile and wonder what it would be like to play in such a world — things like housing, thieving and looting that you don't see in the most popular massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft. So, I've followed him through a few games, including Darkfall and now Mortal Online. And these (seemingly European developed) games are constantly fading into obscurity and never catching hold. We constantly move from one to the next. Does anyone know of a popular three-dimensional game that has UO-like rules and gameplay? Perhaps one that UO players gravitated to after leaving UO? If you think that the very things that have been removed (housing and thieving would be two good topics) caused WoW to become the most popular MMO, why is that? Do UO rules not translate well to a true 3D environment? Are people incapable of planning for corpse looting? Are players really that inept that developers don't want to leave us in control of risk analysis? I'm familiar with the Bartle Test but if anyone could point me to more resources as to why Killer-oriented games have faded out of popularity, I'd be interested."
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Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

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  • by Captain Kirk (148843) * on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:49AM (#31227288) Homepage Journal

    A lot of of the people who rave about pre-Tramell UO are people who fit the "Multi-player appeal to the Killer" label Bartle uses.

    Sadly they needed 1000s of "Multi-player appeal to the Socializer" players to feed on. Beign griefed is not fun for such a person so UO failed to grow. No other game that allows griefign will be fun so you won't see them get developed or launched.

    WoW allows griefing on PVP realms - you have to opt in. Most of those realms are empty for the same reason.

    • by AuMatar (183847) on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:56AM (#31227324)

      PvP realms are hardly empty- lots of people played on them, especially at launch. The problem is that arena and battlegrounds have killed world pvp, so there's little to no real pvp anymore. You can go 0 to 80 with only a handful of pvp deaths these days. In the old days you'd get a handful an hour, many of which were real fights you had a chance of winning. Since 99.9% of pvp happens in instances these days there's no reason to roll pvp anymore, that's why the pvp realms now have smaller pops.

      • by Tridus (79566) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:33AM (#31227490) Homepage

        Throughout the entire history of WoW all the way from release until today, PvP realms as a whole have been less popular then PvE realms.

        That was true before battlegrounds, arenas, wintergrasp, and even before the gear discrepency between a level 30 and a max level character was so high that "world pvp" wasn't just a one shot affair. (Calling what goes on in STV these days PvP is a joke.)

        The reality is that the number of people who find being griefed fun is smaller then the number of people who don't.

        • by Shinobi (19308)

          The interesting thing, however, if we take WoW as an example, is that the top PvE guilds in the world tend to come from PvP realms.

          • Thereby demonstrating that PvP is a great place to come from.

            • by Shinobi (19308)

              I was pointed at it by a WoW-playing friend, but in the current Icecrown Citadel progression race, only 2 guilds out of the top 20 are based on PvE realms. The rest are on PvP realms. In top 10, there is currently no guild from a PvE realm.

              I think it's quite simply actually: A bit of diversity helps make the players who do not wallow in mediocrity better.

              • by Shinobi (19308)

                adversity even. I blame my too heavy workload atm.

          • by Tridus (79566)

            That's interesting, but also not really on topic. The top guilds are a microscopic fraction of the WoW playerbase. The whole problem with a game oriented around UO style thieving and such is that there aren't enough players to support a game based on it for very long. The top guilds fit that bill perfectly, there isn't enough of them to sustain a game based on them either. :)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Blakey Rat (99501)

            "Best" by the metric of "can work as a team during a RAID lasting several hours."

            Not "best" by the metric of, "having the most fun" or "meeting new friends" or "trading/crafting like a well-run shop" or any of the thousand other ways I'd consider somebody good at the game. I know from experience that most of the people in those raiding guilds are miserable.

            (And why wouldn't they be? The guilds are full of assholes who enforce schedules like the worst bureaucrats... the "crime" of living on the west coast an

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jth1234567 (514045)

          Throughout the entire history of WoW all the way from release until today, PvP realms as a whole have been less popular then PvE realms.

          Interestingly, with European servers the situation was exactly the opposite at least during the first year after launch. I don't know if it has changed since then.

        • > Throughout the entire history of WoW all the way from release until today, PvP realms as a whole have been less popular then PvE realms.

          The same was true of Everquest, which was arguably "hardercore", and predated WOW by a few years.

      • Fuck world pvp (Score:5, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058) on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:03AM (#31227646) Homepage Journal

        what was that ? 10 minutes wait to gather some 10-20 or so people to create a raid, 10 minutes to go to the location of the raid, 10 minutes of killing lowbies there until the high levels come, 10 minutes of killing 2-3 high levels until a serious raid forms up from the other side and arrives in your location, then 30 seconds of pvp, death, 5 minutes of running from gy, rezzing and repreparing. after 10 minutes, going back again.

        all that 1-2 hour hassle for only a total of 5-10 minutes of pvp. fuck that

        there is a reason why pvp battlegrounds are accommodating over 8000 players at godforsaken 03.30 at night in eu servers alone - instant, incessant action.

      • by thoth (7907) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:16AM (#31228030) Journal

        I played on a PvP server for several months, recently, and the bottom line is world pvp just sucks. It may have been envisioned as both sides battling it out over quest hubs, and that did occur, but in my experience (anecdotal, yes I know) > 80% of world pvp consisted of a highly unfair situation: either it was two or more vs one, one on one with a large level discrepancy, or a combo of both. And that just isn't fun for the outnumber and outleveled person. The final straw for me was getting one-shotted by a stealthed rogue. So I quit and when I came back, I did a realm transfer to a PvE realm.

        • by Greyfox (87712)
          Yep, I likened WoW world PvP to a mall controlled by a gang. Every time non-gang members go to that mall, they're anally raped by members of that gang. The gang tells people "If you don't like it, go to a different mall." And then they're surprised when people do.

          A lowbie being repeatedly killed by someone 20-30 levels higher than him is not having fun. Sure, once you get a character to max level you can go back and kill the guys doing that because they're usually scrubs who can't handle people at their o

    • by Tridus (79566) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:43AM (#31227536) Homepage

      Yeah, this. Griefing and thieving only work as gameplay when there are lots of victims. Unfortunately, for the victims it isn't very fun. Those people stop playing when it happens enough times to frustrate them.

      Game companies tend to dislike it when people stop playing, and the victim pool massively outnumbers the jerk pool. So naturally they make games friendlier to that group.

      Face up to reality. The number of people who actually want to do this type of anti-social behavior simply isn't large enough to support a big game on its own, and nobody else but those people actually likes it. Being killed and robbed is not fun for most players. Thus, most players go find games that are fun.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CarbonShell (1313583)

        TBH, I find the entire concept of PVP in MMOs totally BS.

        It is like backyard basketball, either you play for fun or you play seriously.
        In the first, it is a friendly match between friends and the outcome is irrelevant.
        In the latter you will go up against people who do not know you, don't care about you and just want to show you who is best. And you might wind up hurt.
        uhm .. -might +probably will

        Either or.

        The problem is that people in MMO want friendly care-bare style fights.
        Let's beat the crap out of each o

    • by dave1791 (315728) on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:12AM (#31227692)

      And there were not many other choices in 1998. If you wanted to play online and were not interested in being a wolf, then you had to be a sheep. Now you have 10^7 other choices and the only people who really miss pre-trammel UO are the killers. It is no accident that Shadowbane, which was built to cater to exactly those people, failed in the market and Darkfall will never be anything more than a niche. I predict that it will fail in the long term because a world that only appeals to wolves will force most of them to be sheep (there can only ever be a few wolves, even if everyone aspires to be one) and they won't stay.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:13AM (#31228018)

      While you can be griefed on a PvP server, all that does is make you lose time. You have to go back to where you were. In the event someone is camping you, you can't do anything until that's cleared up, but that's all. You don't lose gold, experience, loot, etc. So it is annoying, but little more. However in UO you stood to lose a lot, and most people don't like that.

      You are correct in that what it comes down to is that there's few people who like this sort of thing. There are a fair number who like to be on the giving end, but less who are willing to be on the receiving end. So even if you decided to make a game that catered to grifers, you'd have the problem that many griefers wouldn't want to play it. Since it would more or less be a griefer only fest, they wouldn't have casual players to pick on and it wouldn't be fun for them. A large number of them aren't interested in an equal playing field where they might be griefed as well. They want a situation where they can band together with other griefers to pick on the weak, but that doesn't work.

      As such there will be a small market for games like this. You can see this well with EVE. Not only is it rather small, compared to other MMOs, but many of the player base positively HATE WoW. I don't mean they dislike playing WoW so found a new game, I mean they hate that WoW exists and that people play it. Now why would that be? Shouldn't affect them. The reason is because they want all those casual people to come play EVE. They want weak, inexperienced people to pick on and take advantage of. They are mad that these people have other places to play.

      What it comes down to is people play games to have fun. What fun is for various people is different, but for an extremely large amount fun means "Not losing everything because of a jerk." They want something akin to a single player game with checkpoints and quick saves and such. A situation where you don't always move forward, but you never move backward. They don't want the equivalent to a single player game that deletes your save if you die.

      As such, game companies will make games like that. If they don't make games people want to buy, they'll not be in business for long.

      • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday February 22, 2010 @10:32AM (#31229652) Homepage Journal
        Actually in pre-tram UO you really didn't stand to lose that much if you died. The top-end gear wasn't hugely better than what you could buy at a vendor, and two or three relative lowbies could drop a guy in the best gear in the game. Experience counted for a lot more, and it encouraged you to invest more in things your character couldn't lose, mainly his skills.

        The WoW-like item grind is what really threw off the balance of that world.

      • by sarahbau (692647) on Monday February 22, 2010 @10:36AM (#31229708)

        Maybe one way they could counter griefing is to give some kind of risk to the griefer. Most MMOs have no system of law. You can go around killing all the players/NPCs you want, with little more risk than being chased by few guards for 30 seconds. You can then go talk to the baker, who just witnessed you brutally kill 30 peasants, children, and low-level players, but thinks nothing of it. What if killing low level players had consequences, like your character being "executed" (obviously being killed just to respawn 10 seconds later isn't really a punishment, so it could mean something else). What's funny, is WoW originally DID have penalties intended for killing passive NPCs or low-level characters. The rule book talks about dishonor, and how getting enough dishonor would cause you own faction to stop talking to you, eventually even attacking you if you entered town before your dishonor wore off.

        By the time the honor system was implemented though, they had removed dishonor (I think initially they did give negative honor for killing passive NPCs, but not for killing low level players). There was no penalty for killing lowbies all day. I played WoW on an RP-PVP server for a while, thinking it would provide some of the world-pvp I missed on my PVE server after Battlegrounds came out. Unfortunately, pretty much the only PVP that exists on PVP servers any more is griefing. I leveled from 1-70 without encountering a single enemy player that wasn't a skull (more than 10 levels above me) until I got to level 61, where they would fly overhead on their flying mount, waiting for me to drop to low health so they could swoop in for the easy kill.

        Even though I'm not a "wolf," I wouldn't be opposed to a game including some kind of loss when killed, IF the person doing the killing faced some kind of risk as well. A level 80 player might not be able to get anything of value from a level 30, but they'd kill them all day just for the "fun" of causing them to lose something. In real life (most) people don't go around killing random helpless people because of morals, and a risk of imprisonment. In the game world, neither exists (most people aren't morally opposed to annoying someone).

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:35AM (#31228558)

      There's a high nostalgia factor, too.

      Listen to people wax nostalgic about Everquest sometime, talking about how they had to line-up for 8 hours to enter an instance with 20 people, how if even a single person got disconnected they'd lose their spot in line and have to restart, how if they wiped in the dungeon it took 6 hours to get back to where they were before, how raiding was a 16-hour day almost every time, with no breaks.

      Then ask yourself, "would I want to play the game they're describing?" (No, you wouldn't.)

      Odds are, UO was actually just a pretty bad game. The reason he goes on about it is because his brain is infected with the nostalgia disease, which makes everything old look good even if it wasn't.

    • by Delusion_ (56114) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:53AM (#31228700) Homepage

      All of the people I know who miss UO were into the PK scene.

      Calling it PVP is misleading because for people who never played UO, that brings to mind more modern games' consent-based PVP systems. In WoW, you consent to PvP by playing on a PvP server, starting a duel, enabling your PvP flag, and/or joining a battleground. In UO, you could kill other players outside town, period. There were originally some "disincentives" to excessive PKing, but the biggest was getting a badass title that showed how notorious you were, so that was really more of an incentive.

      Also, to those who didn't play it, it's necessary to understand that UO was not a level-based system where the only way to kill someone ten levels over you was for them to be comatose. It was a character skill-based system where the skills you used the most increased the most.

      The typical PKer had an advantage over non-PKers because they had a different understanding (and in retrospect, a correct one) of how PVP combat worked. The typical non-PKer was far too enamoured of gear and character skills. The PKer understood that if you weren't ready to fight ten seconds after resurrection, you probably already lost. If your gameplay depended on superior equipment, you were quite honestly doing it wrong, and the difference between character skills was far, far less important than player experience. To add to the issue, UO was also riddled with a ridiculous amount of huge bugs. If you think you know what bugs are strictly from WoW experience, I have to say, you honestly have no idea.

      Non-PVP zones were limited to cities, so the exits to the cities were a killing ground. Graveyards were resurrection zones, so those were a killing ground. Dungeons were favorite destinations, so those were a killing ground.

      Many other posters have brought some or all of these issues up.

      The key for wolves was to have enough sheep, and that's where the legacy of the Ultima series comes into play. Ultima was a game series that, for its time, had a very large fan base. Furthermore, it was a very moral series of games. Ultima 1-3 where pretty much standard-fare RPG mishmashes of Tolkien, every bad fantasy book ever made, and science fiction. When U4 came out, it was extremely different. Though it hasn't aged well (meaning I don't think you'll get a correct sense of how different it was at the time, if you emulate it today), it was a revelatory experience. No longer could you win the game by destroying everything in sight and not taking everything that wasn't locked down (assuming you were strong enough to defeat the guards or clever enough to evade them). Ultima 4 was a game about what it means to be virtuous. Ultima 5 dealt with what it means to enforce virtue as draconian law, subverting virtue. Ultima 6 concerned itself with the problem of evil and the moral ramifications of messiah prophecy. Ultima 7 was less about moral dimensions, but had solid gameplay, and Ultima 8 was the first game which really failed to meet fan expectations.

      Due to the moral dimensions of U4-6, and the quality of U7, Ultima not only had a very strong following, but it appealed to a lot of people who liked the fact that it wasn't just another game where you can kill your way out of every situation. It appealed to players' senses of justice, fairness, and compassion. In fact, U4 introduced a Virtue System which not only codified 8 virtues (honesty, compassion, valor, justice, honor, sacrifice, spirituality and humility) and 3 principles which guided them (truth, love and courage). Ultima Online had a lot of players who remembered the U4-6 legacy with fondness, and had a fan base where such virtues were often exemplified in the community.

      Ultima Online shipped without any virtue system, needless to say. It was filled with a lot of non-PVPers, for many of whom UO was their first mulitplayer RPG. Many of the PK crowd came from other smaller games where PVP was more common. The collision of values is what was important, because it gave a lot of the n

  • Casual gamers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stjobe (78285) on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:50AM (#31227292) Homepage

    Casual gamers are what makes up the bulk of MMO subscriptions. These gamers don't want to be robbed of their progress by full-loot, robbery and other nasty things.

    The casual gamer will happily spend his $15 if he knows nothing stands between him and the phat loot but time.

    • Re:Casual gamers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xugumad (39311) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:07AM (#31227396)

      > These gamers don't want to be robbed of their progress by full-loot, robbery and other nasty things.

      Also casual gamers are much more likely to be robbed, and much less likely to be able to rob back.

      • Re:Casual gamers (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:22AM (#31228066)

        If you look at human history, you come to realize that the strong few imposing their will on the masses is extremely common. The relative justice and equality enjoyed in some nations today is an anomaly, not the rule. Most of history, and plenty of places today, are the few oppressing the masses for their own enjoyment. The places that are not, well it took a lot of work, not to mention some extremely talented people to bring about.

        So, what this means in games is we are stupid to assume it'll be any different. If you make a game where people can steal from each other and so on and create their own rules, you are an idiot if you think anything will develop but a situation where a few oppress the many. This is even more true in games for three reasons:

        1) There's no permanent consequences. At least in real life a dictator can be killed or sent to prison or the like. In a game, you can't do that. So even if players band up and take down a trouble maker, that guy can just respawn, work to reclaim what he lost, and come back after them.

        2) People can, and will, take their money elsewhere. In the real world there's some motivation to try and stand up for others and make things better as this life, this world, is all you've got. In a game it is much easier to just say "fuck it" and take your dollars somewhere more fun. As such someone who might have the potential to be the leader needed may well just leave.

        3) Along those lines it is just a game, there's only so much effort many people are willing to spend on it. So again while someone might be the leader needed to try and fight against the griefers, they could well not be willing to spend the time.

        All in all what you have is a situation where the sociopaths WILL make life difficult for everyone else, if they are allowed to. You can't expect anything else and you have to design a game knowing that. That means, if you desire to cater to anyone but those people, you are going to need to enforce order at a higher level. You need the game to have mechanics to prevent that sort of thing from happening, you can't tell your players "Oh just deal with it yourselves."

        • Well, your analogy has merit in its own right, but it's actually a bit mis-leading in the context of UO and generally of online griefing.

          RL oppressing and exploiting the masses was at least generally done for personal gain. Some guy got to make some money or have a big castle or whatever, by oppressing those peasants.

          In UO the somewhat surprising thing for many players was that a lot of people were not motivated by any kind of gain. They just wanted to make _you_ miserable. There was not even an attempt to

      • by Shivetya (243324)

        Also casual gamers are much more likely to be robbed, and much less likely to be back.

        Fixed it for you.

        The article is typical, things are best remembered than experienced. I played UO at launch, got banned for posting a gold dupe bug with such outlandish steps as to openly declare what you were doing, only to be unbanned by a week or so later and yet I still only like the old game as it was, minus the PvP. The Chessie two step lag and such were such fun, green acres hacks and the like were what made UO in

      • Actually, "be able to" never played much of a role in UO griefing. The only question was whether you want to be a griefing fucktard or not. Most of the exploits were so trivially simple, that if you could click with a mouse at all, you'd be perfectly able to. (And if you can't click, you wouldn't play UO in the first place.) There were no twitch-reflexes or l33t PvP skillz involved, just the willingness to be a griefer or not.

        E.g., since the summary mentions housing _and_ thieving together, that combination

    • Re:Casual gamers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:57AM (#31227596) Homepage Journal

      I claim you are wrong.

      I'm halfway a casual and halfway a hardcore gamer - due to job and hobbies, my time for a game is pretty limited, but when I like it, I put my teeth into it and my satisfaction is getting as much or more return in a few hours as a lot of the "hardcore" kids with unlimited time on their hands get in playing all day.

      Most of the laid-back people that I play with don't mind losing progress. What they do mind is the constant grieving that goes along with it. Many of the thieves, PKers, robbers and yes, cheaters and exploiters in those games are not taking from your character to progress themselves. Heck, I've heard so many stories about thieves immediately destroying their stolen goods that it would fill a book. They're doing it because they can and because they enjoy annoying other people. Typical behaviour for a certain part of the 13-15 age bracket.

      Casual gamers are usually adults. They've been there, done that, realized a few later how dumb and asine it all was, and cringe when they see it in others because it still is dumb and asine plus it reminds them of their own faults back then.

      The other part that comes with it is why, in fact, for some cases many people do (contrary to my words above) hate losing progress: The stupid grinding to get it back. If there were less grind and more fun in progress, it would matter less if your progress is from 15 to 16 or from 14 to 15 - again. But since in most MMOs, losing progress or starting over means doing the same boring thing again, yes that is why losing progress sucks.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        Could not agree more. I don't mind loss of progress or even some loss of gear or money, however in every friggen new MMO that tries to implement these things there are griefers that go out of their way simply to make the experience miserable for everyone else, using everything from spawn point camping, to things like killing people as they are zoning (man that one really pissed me off in conan) to just plain cheating and using exploits to make everyone elses life misserable, the end results is those MMO's f
        • by Tom (822)

          Which is why I say balancing this correctly will make or break Mortal Online.

          It already broke Darkfall.

      • Re:Casual gamers (Score:4, Interesting)

        by stjobe (78285) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:05AM (#31227942) Homepage

        I claim you are wrong.

        Claim away.

        I'm halfway a casual and halfway a hardcore gamer

        So you're not a casual gamer, which kind of invalidates your claim.

        Anyway,

        I'm not a casual gamer either, more like yourself in fact, but the bulk of MMO subscriptions are filled with people who DON'T want to lose any progress, be it from thieves, robbers, PKers, server crashes, whatever. They'll spend their time in the game happily as long as it's a constant progress.

        You're right that it's the grind to get back what was lost that makes the casual gamer not want to put up with losing progress, but I'd wager that even if the grind was lessend, a full-on PvP game will never have the mass appeal of WoW. MMO players in general are quite protective of their shiny pixels and don't like to lose them.

        • by Tom (822) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:35AM (#31228132) Homepage Journal

          I don't think we disagree very much.

          If getting back what was lost were interesting and challenging, not many people would mind all that much. In fact, quite a few books and movies are, if you reduce the story to the bare minimum, about just that. But very, very, very few books and movies go "harvest tree. harvest tree. harvest tree (20 more pages). bring wood to storage. repair axe. return to forest. harvest tree. harvest tree. harvest tree (20 more pages..)".

      • Think about what you just said for a minute. The grinding is bad enough the first time.... Frankly, I'm surprised that any MMO manages to last as long as they do once people realize that. I'm dumbfounded at WoW's success, though.
      • My most depressing moment in UO was when I was killed and after making the run back to my corpse, all of my gear was still there. Nothing says your character blows like having his gear not be worth looting.
  • by jbb999 (758019) on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:52AM (#31227298)
    My title sums it up really. Wow in particular has ceased to be a world full of adventure and exploration and has rapidly become just a game full of people who complain if there is anything to do that slows down their getting their loot. The whole game has shrunk from a huge world full of adventure into a tiny game with about 10 instances and raids that people do over and over and over, and complain if there is anything that slows that down. Many other games have followed WoW down this route, and yet I think it's success was despite that, not because of it. The other games may well be "obscure" but that doesn't mean they don't exist or they are no fun to play. Does it matter is there are 3 servers full of people you'll never meet in game, or 200?
    • Take a look at MO. It is very much a game World.
    • by flimflammer (956759) on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:01AM (#31227622)

      I'm gonna have to call bull on a lot of this.

      Rose colored glasses have always been a thorn in World of Warcrafts side. This world of adventure you speak of is the first reaction you get being in a world you don't know, filled with dangers you haven't yet seen. Once it finally sinks in that the big bad world is actually rather small, and once you reach the level cap there isn't much to do, then that's a whole other thing altogether. You're never going to get back that sense of adventure and it's borderline ridiculous to expect Blizzard to somehow restore it to its complete former glory.

      You speak of the low instance and raid count as if it is something new. Those were all you had to do back in the early days too. Hit the level cap? Time for raids. You want to do something else? Too bad. Want to do something other than raids, like PvP? I hope you like being curb stomped by the guy in full T2. Hell right when release hit-- available options was even worse. All you had was Molten Core and Onyxia that you spent wiping to with 39 other people for weeks and weeks until the poorly itemized blue gear you were wearing was either buffed or the encounters were finally tweaked once Blizzard realized how bad they were.

      There has always been complaints about progression and inhibitors. Always. Blizzard finally realized it was in their best interest as a business to start listening to some of the complaint that had been heard far and wide. The primary ones were progression for less-than-cutting-edge groups to see the new content, and Blizzard opened it up. Honestly given your argument about how few things there is to do, this should have been seen as a blessing.

      • by jbb999 (758019)
        No, actually they are simply pandering to the "Waaah I want it NOW!!!" crowd who complain so loudly. it's ruining WoW, I suspect that the next expansion won't be nearly as successful as they hoped, I know an awful lot of people who are still playing but don't plan to buy the expansion as they don't like anything the game has done recently and that will be a suitable time to stop playing for them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Clover_Kicker (20761)

      Does it matter is there are 3 servers full of people you'll never meet in game, or 200?

      It matter if the publisher decides the game isn't profitable, how many MMOs have gone away in the last few years?

      I'd love to spark up my Hellgate London Summoner and farm heads, but the servers are long gone.

    • I call shenannigans (Score:4, Informative)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Monday February 22, 2010 @11:34AM (#31230404) Journal

      Having actually been one of the early adopters of WoW, I wonder where you found that adventure and exploration and where do you think it disappeared. The same original zones are still there, the same quests are there, and people always just wanted a good game.

      And most importantly, again, this is the same kind of people we had from day 1, and this is the kind of things they've asked for. I just need to remember the history of the plugins and sites, to realize that the average player always just wanted to be shown where to go to hand it in and collect his loot, and that's how they played the game.

      Compared to other games, WoW offered the _least_ mystery and exploration, and people actually _liked_ it that way. E.g., it was very much appreciated that you actually saw a big yellow mark over the head of everyone who could give you a quest. As opposed to actually having to go talk to every single stupid NPC, only to see that 99% still have nothing for you, like in a couple of other online games.

      But anyway, really, exactly which place you used to adventure and explore in, that no longer exists?

      Methinks that the only thing that changed is you. You were seeing it back then through the eyes of someone who's all new to it, and for whom discovering a new town was an exciting new thing. You're now a jaded old veteran who not only knows exactly where that town is, but also where every single NPC is, and what quests they have, and what items they sell. That's really what killed any sense of adventure and exploration, not anything Blizzard did.

  • EvE Online? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:52AM (#31227300) Homepage Journal

    As far as penalty driven PvP and PvE (your ship goes boom, no getting it back, and stuff you fit to your ship can go boom with it along with stuff you were carrying)

    Owning space regions is expensive & cumbersome, but to be honest I don't remember the housing mechanic real well but it's similar. You can own a Station as well has have Towers referred to as 'POS' (Player Owned Stations)

    anything outside of account stealing and real money stealing is allowed and not reversed.

    But you're not an elf running around casting things, you're in a space ship.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AuMatar (183847)

      The problem with EvE is that you're looking at months of real life time to fly a ship that's halfway fun. If you want to fly a bigger ship, it will take over a year to fly it T2 (and T1 is worthless for anything but making money in). THat's not time spent that can be altered by player skill and strategy, that's clock time due to their skill system. Give me a character with 30 million points and I'd subscribe tomorrow. Starting from scratch I wouldn't advise anyone to bother.

      • Re:EvE Online? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tero (39203) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:05AM (#31227370)

        That's just bullshit, starting from scratch is equally fun and you don't "lose" anything in the process.
        EVE is a slow moving game and there's a point in not letting everyone fly everything from the start.

        But to answer to your main point - it's /perfectly legal/ to purchase a character with 30M SP from the EVE forums (check the Character Bazaar part), if you don't feel like starting from scratch - you're allowed to buy a character.

        So I guess I'll see you tomorrow then...

        • by AuMatar (183847)

          No, starting from scratch isn't fun. First you have to spend over a month just learning the learning skills. Or you can skip those, but fall even further behind in real skills (admittedly, you'd probably do a mix of them over time, get a few helpful skills and do learning overnight). That'd be f

          Secondly, flying a little tiny ship that can't kill anything serious isn't fun. Maybe you like it, but most people's idea is to fly something at least battlecruiser size, if not bigger. That takes years. And it

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Calinous (985536)

            You can fly a cruiser in less than two weeks (just ignore high level learning skills), and if you want to go battlecruiser route, it shouldn't take much more than that (less than half a year). To fly it well, that takes training (both in game skills and in your skills).
            As for fun, frigate plus warp scrambler (to block the target from warping away) plus web (to slow down the target) is fun if you know what to avoid. Remember that some of T2 ships are actually weaker than T1 ships in a o

          • Re:EvE Online? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Xveers (1003463) on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:23AM (#31227734)
            I'm always amazed about how ignorant people are about the system.

            Yes, you do have a timed learning system, but you crucially forget that the time scales logarithmically but the bonuses are linear. You can spend a quarter the time skilling and achieve over 90% of the same performance as someone who's skilled for years. That last 10% can easily be made up by skill, some planning, or a friend.

            The second thing is the obsession with T2 ships being OMGPWNZRS. You can credibly fight with a basic T1 frigate or cruiser for much lower cost and time investment. Hell, you can even make it a profitable proposition with some planning. Lost your ship? No matter, the insurance payout is more than the cost to buy and fit it! Can't do that with T2 in the least. T2 ships are specialized beasts. They do one thing and do it well, but at a penalty at doing anything else, and at a much, MUCH higher cost. You know what the most popular frigate is to go out and kick ass? It's the Rifter, a basic T1 frigate that you can be flying in less than three hours. With bad attributes.

            Thirdly, guess what, there is only a fininte amount of skills that can help with anything. Myself, I have almost 70m skillpoints. Ooh I should be a combat monster. But I'm not. Most of it is industrial skills for manufacturing. Want to fly and make others die? You can have a character that can whomp me in less than six months by yourself. Fly with a friend and you can be in that same postion in perhaps a month.

            But hey, what do I know about this anyways? I'm just a manufacturer....

          • Re:EvE Online? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Sobrique (543255) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:07AM (#31227966) Homepage
            1/ Learning skills don't do anything. You don't have to spend any time on them at all. If you do, they take days to get to an acceptable level (4/4 in each takes maybe a week in total).
            2/ Flying a tiny little ship is lots of fun. Arguably more fun than flying a battleship. I've been flying a Merlin recently - a little piddly T1 frigate - and having much fun flying it, even after 5 years of playing EVE. Despite being able to fly really big ships, I rarely do, and find I'm flying cruiser sized hulls most of the time.
            3/ You do catch up. There's only 5 ranks in each skill, once you've got there, you've 'caught up'. By then, you've probably overtaken most players already, as the 5th rank takes 80% of the time, where you can go from 0-4 in 20%. 80% of the benefit, 20% of the time. Even that doesn't make much difference though - square off two pilots, with one on 10x the skillpoints, and you can't predict who would win. The only thing that more skillpoints gives, is more options. It's like in other games, where you've leveled up to the level cap in one class, so you start a new character to find out what a different class is like. Only in EVE, you do it with the same character.
            4/ It takes a while to hit the level cap on some of the top tier stuff. Yeah, that's so. So what? It's not like the intervening classes aren't interesting or useful or fun.
      • by Calinous (985536)

        Flying frigates can be really fun - if you know what you are doing (and usually if you are part of a group). There are frigate builds that can take on some cruisers and win - on the other side, with similar ships a new player is extraordinarily behind an experienced (skill wise) player, as the experienced player will have improved every skill that matters (5% here, 10% there, 15% there and so on). Longer range, improved accuracy, more energy, better armour, higher armour/shield regeneration. He could also h

      • Re:EvE Online? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... OLo.com minus la> on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:06AM (#31227658) Homepage Journal

        Wow... you sound like you've actually played the game, but have some extremely odd notions about it.

        T2, in and of itself, doesn't take that long. With a knowledgeable friend and/or careful planning, you could do it before finishing a three-week trial if they didn't limit those ships to non-trial accounts. You can certainly do it in a month or so. Sure, an Interceptor or Assault Frigate is no Black Ops battleship or Command battlecruiser, but it's Tech 2 and perfectly usable in PvP. Of course, well within the trial period (I've done it), you can have a powerful T2-fitted Rifter or similar. Sure, it's T1, and it's a frigate... but hell, with the right fittings you can kill interceptors (despite them being T2) in such a ship. That said, a tech 1 hull with tech 1 fittings can still be perfectly valid as a PvP ship, for roaming gangs or gate camping or scouting a convoy or any number of other things. If you want, that's a valid approach right up through battlecruisers and battleships; the largest non-capital military ships, and you can get to battlecruisers in about a month if you really push it.

        For large ships, T2 does indeed take longer. A Vagabond (T2 cruiser) - one of the best PvP ships for solo or small gang warfare, due to its incredible speed, decent durability, and decent firepower - will take at least two months to train for (longer if you want all the support skills that such a ship's pilot ought to have, but not *much* longer). Of course, that's not really a *large* ship, although a well-fitted one can kill most battlescruisers. Command ships are at least a few months more, and at a guess I'd estimate 8 months for a T2 battleship. Of course, it's not like you can't do anything until you get there. Fly a T1 frigate until you can fly a cruiser or T2 frigate. Fly cruiser or T2 frigate until you can fly T2 cruiser (Vagabond or similar). Almost any combat ship can be valuable in PvP, and even relatively new characters can have the skills to succeed in solo PvP if they get a pointer in the right direction.

        The times above are assuming you train straight for that ship's skills; after over 2 years of EVE I still can't fly Black Ops because honestly I don't give a damn. They're awesome ships, and fill a very valuable tactical role... and yet their hulls alone cost several times what I spend on a fully fitted fleet battleship or even T2 battlecruiser. Most of my PvP is in a T1 battlecruiser, because frankly the Hurricane is fantastic PvP ship; it's got DPS comparable to a battleship, can tank well enough, is fast, and full fittings, rigs, and insurance for one costs like 70M tops (of which you'll get 30-odd million back from the insurance if you die). I use a fully T2 fit (rigs aside), and the skills necessary for my exact fit would probably take about 7 months or so to train from a new character. Within three months though, you could be perhaps 90% as effective; it's not actually that important to have a T2 MWD, or even T2 guns.

        In any case, the suggestion that you can't PvP for a freaking year is *complete* bullshit. It's not typically practical to try PvP in your first week, but I have a friend who tried the game and was brining his cruiser on roaming gangs with me before his two-week trial ended (you can get three-week trials now, and early characters now receive a bonus to skill training speed to get them started even faster). Hell, I don't even suggest rushing T2; cost for cost, T2 hulls aren't close to worth it. T1 is easier to train and typically the hull costs literally 1/10 as much, for a ship that is well over half as effective.

      • by Calinous (985536)

        Then the solution would be Netrek - you can fly any ship (other than a starbase) from the beginning, it's PvP only - the issue is finding a place with many other people to play. The learning curve is somewhat steep, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Plekto (1018050)

        The problem with EvE is that you're looking at months of real life time to fly a ship that's halfway fun. If you want to fly a bigger ship, it will take over a year to fly it T2 (and T1 is worthless for anything but making money in). THat's not time spent that can be altered by player skill and strategy, that's clock time due to their skill system. Give me a character with 30 million points and I'd subscribe tomorrow. Starting from scratch I wouldn't advise anyone to bother.

        Nor would I. But the easy soluti

  • Classic UO (Score:5, Informative)

    by alex_royle (863264) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:05AM (#31227372)
    You can still play classic UO on independent servers. The biggest one is http://www.uogamers.com/ [uogamers.com]
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:06AM (#31227388)

    In Eve, the PvP happens alongside (well, sorta -- too complex to go into detail about here) the PvE. Players can build their own "home" -- a space station (but it's not a home for one character, it needs to be built by -- and more importantly -- defended by, a group of people). You can steal from the weak, who in turn hire mercs to have their revenge. Pretty much a complete player-run economy.

    No Elves in lederhosen frolicking about in the woods hoping to steal a kiss, but then again, there are the Gallente...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CarbonShell (1313583)

      For todays 'RPG'-Gamers, actually (pseudo-)dieing is Hardcore enough. Their heads would explode if you did anything worse to them.

      Bad enough they have to actually WALK 1 min back to their corpse and regain ALL their stuff...

  • Griefing was King! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jaybird1981 (1233974)
    I always wondered how long it would take before an Ultima Online post made its way to slashdot. I played several years on the Lake Superior shard, and after finally selling my account and moving on in 2003 i kept in touch with over 25 people that i was friends with from the realm. from those people 4 or 5 were still playing a UO Hybrid on a private server while others merged into other popular MMO's yet i never found anyone that is still playing a particular MMO. I've played Several MMORPGs after UO but i
  • Siege Perilous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quazion (237706) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:15AM (#31227416) Homepage

    I used to play UO on Siege, the only hardcore pvp server UO has left. I left Siege due to the fact that it didn't have enough players on when i was playing, hours of running around to find a player. Its mostly americans that play there and the europian all leave, because of lack of players in their timezone.

    So, i started looking for a new UO like game just like you. I found Darkfall, which was a grindfest and didn't give me the same adrenaline shots UO gave me when running around its forests. Also the Europian server was full of cheats and they didn't wan't to do a server wipe. Recently i tried the open beta of Mortal Online, wow the combat engine really felt sluggish, i hope i was wrong and it will be better, but i haven't logged in after the first hour. Guess thats another game that won't give the UO feel, although its mechanics looked more promising.

    But what all these new games lack is the roleplay tools, UO has all these small parts as tables, chairs, flowers, paintings, etc.. You can really build your own scenery to play your character in, combined with a death penalty which makes life in the world much more intense.

    If you find a good UO like game, please let me know ;-)

  • You want this. http://uosecondage.com/ [uosecondage.com] "Second Age is a free Ultima Online Shard that can be accessed by anyone with UO client software. Second Age is the most accurate emulation of the UO: T2A era online today. There are no giveaways. On UO Second Age you will build your character(s) from the ground up." Been running for about 2 years now, good user base and well moderated.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:27AM (#31227456) Homepage Journal

    to play and put every 2-3 hours of your daily life into a game to increasingly progress and then get jumped on by a random group of 2-3 somewhere and all your progress stolen.

    it only works when you are a teenager and you have unlimited time in your hands, so you can stomach the loss. but doesnt work for people with little time.

    back then in uo days we had that kind of time, and we were stupid enough to stomach that kind of gameplay. but, curiously, i see that contrary to what we did back then, kids of today's generation do not waste their time in that fashion. they just go play proper mmos.

    that kind of gameplay only can work in a setting in which you are not required to put inane amounts of time to make progress. if you could make up for the stolen items/whatever in a single session (2-3 hours) that would maybe work. but, else, cant.

    • by Tom (822)

      It also works if you don't lose all your progress, but only a part that you can quickly recover.

    • The easy way to get it back is to group with 5-6 and jump the groups of 2-3. Sorted.

  • If you want a UO like game, Mortal Online is where it is at. The summary is very unfair, because unlike darkfall, MO is still in beta, with plenty of want for polish. Despite this, I did a long evauluation of current and future MMO's, and keeping in mind I have little time to play in the first place, I wanted one and only one, I ended up getting MO. It is a great game, is very user unfriendly at the moment, but I really love having to theorize about this and that and not having everything handed to me in a
  • balance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday February 22, 2010 @05:38AM (#31227508) Homepage Journal

    I'm playing (well, trying to, it's laggy and buggy) the open beta of Mortal Online, and I've followed Darkfall a little, as well as playing EVE and a bunch of others MMOs. What I've learnt there is it is very, very hard to balance a game that allows players to act against each other freely.

    Most MMOs restrict PvP to zones, disallow looting, etc. etc. - all those restrictions are mostly there because they make balancing a TON easier. Just read the Mortal Online forums and you can see how difficult it is to get thieving right. If it's too difficult, nobody will use it and you can just as well leave it out. If it is too easy, it attracts all the griefers and assholes who don't steal from people to advance their own character, but merely to annoy other players.

    It is unbelievably difficult to find the correct balance once your game has a certain amount of complexity, because all those features interact with each other. EVE did one thing right, and that's why they are still top dog. By setting things into space and a SciFi setting, they eliminated a lot of complexities. The seperation of the game world into solar systems is a natural seperation that players accept. It solves a ton of technical issues without the disturbing portals of other games. The whole cloning and insurance system covers the looting, death and resurrection part from a believable angle that gives the designers lots of freedom in tweaking things. And finally, having security ratings from 1.0 to 0.0 with a smooth transition from "carebear space" to "free for all hardcore space" is a brilliant idea.

    Any MMO that doesn't learn from EVE is doomed to fail, I say. And I don't play EVE any more, it's not my game. But they made a good number of brilliant design decisions and have the ability to learn from their mistakes. Kudos for that. Now if you look back at the failed or failure-in-progress games, you will often see devs fanatically defending an original vision that turned out to be impossible to implement. Those who can not adapt, fail.

    I still hope MO turns out to be right, but my hopes are fading.

    • Ballance is also about playerbase.

      No matter how you set up looting/xp losse from death/whatever, you need to have sheep ready to be killed. You need to convince prey to play game so that predators can hunt them down.

      Many players join theese games with visions of being on top of food chain (because, they, like, rox and have leet skillz), but reality pans out differently and they end up being much lower than they would expect - they will get frustrated and eventually leave. And same repeats with those that we

  • Everything on the internet starts off as a group of reasonable, intelligent people. MMOers in the olden days were willing to take sudden extreme losses like having most of their stuff looted and being camped for a few hours, with the understanding that they themselves, with their guilds, were responsible for retribution. Butt then, as with everything, the size grows and the quality of the users and community gets diluted down. Now, we have things like MMOs like WoW where 90% of the effort put into them is j

    • Everything on the internet starts off as a group of reasonable, intelligent people. MMOers in the olden days were willing to take sudden extreme losses like having most of their stuff looted and being camped for a few hours, with the understanding that they themselves, with their guilds, were responsible for retribution. Butt then, as with everything, the size grows and the quality of the users and community gets diluted down. Now, we have things like MMOs like WoW where 90% of the effort put into them is just there for the first 6 months of your playing time, until you get to level 80 and just teleport between your favorite instances. The only cure is to start over from scratch.

      Good thing we have EVE. People hate it because it's exactly what you described in your first two sentences. That just happens to be why I love it.

  • I've never played UO. What is "UO-like"? What defines it? What do current games lack? Are you sure that they actually lack it?

    I can't help but be reminded of people who complain that D&D 3rd-edition focuses too much on moving little figures around a grid, as if it were somehow not the fault of the group playing the game, that they chose to focus on a minuscule subset of the rules.

    • jump over to http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/206045 [mmorpg.com] Basically UO was one of the first sandbox style persistent worlds. When we say UO like we generally mean the entire world is PVP and is full loot. Full loot meaning, when I kill Abe, and abe is wearing a sword and armor, I get EVERYTHING he had on him. It makes death a serious thing and not to be taken lightly. Also sandbox in that you are not forced intoa role, such as "tank" or "Mage". Actually it is basically about breaking down barriers of
    • It generally revolves around killing people and taking their stuff. With 1% doing the killing and taking, and waxing lyrical about how nobody queues up to the slaighterhouse anymore, as modern MMORPGs are less "realistic", and don't allow griefing.
  • Some UO fans, that I know, went to "dark ages of camelot" after UO servers became to empty...
    • by Xest (935314)

      Yeah I did, I played it for 5 years in fact, but it still wasn't UO unfortunately, and even DAoC is now deader than UO ironically.

  • Heres why: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by brillow (917507)
    1) Getting your shit stolen isn't fun. 2) A game has to be pretty lame if you're spending time in your virtual "house." I don't need to log on to sit around my house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xouumalperxe (815707)

      A game has to be pretty lame if you're spending time in your virtual "house."

      Yet The Sims is one of the most successful franchises ever. Just because it doesn't work for you doesn't mean there isn't a market for it.

  • by fadir (522518)

    If you really are into Ultima-like gameplay then have a look at: http://www.tibia.com/ [tibia.com]
    It looks really old compared to WoW & Co. but the gameplay is amazing and you have all you ask for in it: housing, thieving, looting - everything is there!

    I play Tibia since 1998 (with interruptions) and always return, just started again a few weeks ago. I've played many other mmorpgs and they are all fine and nice for a while but grow boring quickly because it's just no thrill involved. In Tibia you'll have plenty of

  • Before graphical, pay-to-play MMORPGs, there were these things called MUDs that were exactly the same thing, only played in a textual medium. Some of you might wonder how anyone could possibly enjoy a game without graphics - it's the same difference between a book and a movie. Ultima Online was the natural extension of MUDs to graphics, and wow it's set in Ultima land! With Lord British (stupidest name ever) as an actual character, really played by Richard Garriot! You could have a house and travel thro

  • Looting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:34AM (#31227780)

    I've only yet seen 1 game where I thought looting and theft was done 'right'...

    Theft - Have to practice your pickpocket skill to get better at it. The better you get, the higher level person you can steal from and the better stuff you can get from them, and from shops.
    Anti-Theft - Have to practice your 'perception' or/and pickpocket skills. The better you get, the harder you are to rob. In addition, if you see the theft but can't prevent it, you can report to the nearest guard and the town guards will be watching for them. Also, you can immediately attack the robber and killing them is perfectly legal.

    Looting - Known as 'graverobbing' because when you die, you create a mini-grave on the spot. The looter has to dig up the grave (takes about a minute) and then can take whatever. The items are marked as being looted for about an hour. Logging off or hiding in a zone where find-magic doesn't work will see the items returned to their owner immediately.
    Anti-looting - Killing a graverobber is fair game. For anyone. Pick on a newbie player and you'll likely find the mob has pitchforks and torches. And they are very eager for some excitement.

    What you end up with is a -lot- of petty theft that people generally only lightly protect against, with a few people that go totally nuts and fly into a rage about it. And just a little bit of looting, which everyone gets excited about and has fun with.

    I'm sure it wasn't easy to come up with the above solution, and it takes a strong community to make it happen... But it's the only one I've seen do it right so far.

  • ...plain old UO Shards with Iris2. There are a couple of them.

    UO has in my eyes only one major drawback: the client. Since the protocol is fairly researched (see penultima online docs), and there are a lot of emulators very developped (runuo2, sphereserver, uox3, pol and the dead ones (nox, wolfpack, sunuo)), mostly even opensource, and there are a lot of freeshards with very different scriptpacks...

    the ideas on freeshards are very cool, often copied by OSI into their own.
    but mostly every combat and magic s
  • I'm not a thief.

    I don't choose to consort with thieves.

    I don't like to live in thievery-prone areas.

    Most people feel the way I do.

    Simple, really.

  • by Phoenix (2762) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:20AM (#31228050)

    Years ago, I played UO and enjoyed it.

    For all of 5 days. Then it became a cringe-making hell for me.

    Unless you were one of the uber-elite of gamers out there who knew how to level to demi-godhood on the servers, you were their prey.

    The game became less and less fun the more I tried to simply to do something...anything to get better than a lowbie character, the more frustrating it became. I tried mining, and was frequently killed for my hard work. Logging, anything...I was a target for players who wanted nothing more than to kill and enjoy the sweat off of their victim's brow. I couldn't earn money, couldn't advance...

    In fact, the only thing I was great at was dying.

    Not exactly something I want to sink money into month after month. After 15 days, I gave it up as a bad idea.

    Everquest came along with something that allowed the PvP'ers to have their fun and would leave us casual players to progress at our own pace. There was no real need to level to the max in nothing flat just to stay alive, one could enjoy the game. World of Warcraft did something different, but has the same result.

    Why are games going this way? Because look at the "Make Love, Not Warcraft" episode of Southpark. Once someone was able to kill at will and in fact seemed to get off on ganking lower-than-he characters...people stopped playing the game. The Fictional Blizzard company in the episode saw millions of their user base turning off their computers and going outside to play.

    The real Blizzard and other companies running MMORPG games would have a very real version of this problem. In fact, once EQ came out, people jumped from UO to it and most of them said that EQ was far superior not for graphics, or world development...but for the simple fact that they could PLAY the game and not flee anything that was controlled by another player.

    That's why everyone maximizes game play and leaves options for people to decide to play PvP without interfering with everyone else who doesn't want to play that game.

    Sure it sucks for the PvP'ers, but that's why there are PvP servers. If you want to be that kind of player...there's your world to do it in.

  • by Exitar (809068)

    I run away from MMORPG forums because they're full of whining people ("The game isn't the same anymore! It caters to casuals now!") and find the same whines here...

    Anybody can suggest a good knitting forum?

  • Developer risk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilWurst (96042) on Monday February 22, 2010 @10:55AM (#31229920) Journal

    Devloping an MMO is a long, expensive, and therefore risky proposition. Great rewards if you succeed, devastation if you fail. And a failure can poison your future opportunities, too - how many people are going to avoid the next Star Wars MMO after disliking the first?

    From a certain point of view, the history of MMOs since the late 90s has been one of a race for each generation of game to copy whatever was most successful from the previous generation. Less risky that way, right? Well, UO wasn't the most successful of its generation; Everquest was, and, in the far east, Lineage was. That's why we got level-based (or level-grind-based) MMOs from there. WoW's absolutely stunning success in particular has locked us into this rut.

    The PvP question is an equally important one. People hate griefing, but the *reason* they hate it is mainly the lost time/progress. Games that balance that have a chance to succeed, games that don't balance it very rarely succeed. EVE is the one high-risk success outlier we can point to - but even then, compared to WoW, which one is a developer going to copy? WoW.

    In practice, you could probably do a game based on the core ideas of UO, with modern adjustments added in, and be successful. UO had a lot of things going for it. Its approach to a player economy, its complete decoupling of trade skills from combat skills, and its comparatively low dependence on gear were all Good Things, in my opinion. Now add in modern conveniences like a UI that doesn't suck, auction house, soulbind-on-equip/soulbind-on-pickup items, better banking/party/guild/raid support, modern WoW-like quest system, instancing (but don't overdo it - those open dungeons were fun too), and so on. And, when you think about it, those changes would almost be enough to make UO's open PvP bearable, wouldn't they? Most of your good gear would be unlootable, as would the bits of monster parts from your current kill-x-collect-y quests, so there'd not be much penalty for your first player-induced death, and the other guy therefore only stands to lose by sticking around - you'd actually have a chance of killing him and taking back your stuff. The kind of NPC guard presence we see in WoW would also make for a lot less griefing too, since any place with questgivers becomes a small bubble of safety from the standard career criminal.

"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977

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