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Role Playing (Games)

John Smedley On the Future of MMOGs 193

RosethornKB writes "John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, wrote a letter about SOE's look to the future. In it, Smedley asks some questions about virtual children, skill based combat and player created content. KillerBetties.com posts a response to his questions. From the article: "What if you could have families in MMO's? Virtual Children... What if your characters could have children and pass on the family name...This is a very vague idea and I'm not sure if he words it that way on purpose or not. The concept of Virtual Children and passing on the family name isn't new. For example, upcoming Limitless Horizons MMO Mourning has had it in their design since the game first was announced. Their system is actually very interesting in theory."" Grimwell.com has commentary on SOE's recent activities.
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John Smedley On the Future of MMOGs

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  • bigger (Score:2, Informative)

    by alfrin ( 858861 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @03:58PM (#11653525)
    As MMOG get bigger so does the average person, more they want to explore the virtual world the less of they'll want to explore of the real world, Eventually they won't even want to venture past the dreaded kitchen..
  • by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @04:14PM (#11653623)
    You'd be right about them being largely unchanged if you started at EQ, which really isn't reasonable if you consider how successful UO was. It may be dead now (only 21 servers and an average of around 20,000 players on at a time, not including the free servers), but UO was huge in its day and really kicked off the MMOG market.

    So, Ultima Online had:

    PvP with in-game repurcussions that worked adequately (bounties, murder counts, reputation, etc...)

    Skills that were determined during gameplay (you have a percent score for each skill, you can start with three skills with a total of 100 points and none over fifty), raising in skill level just by using the skill, rather than by putting points towards it.

    Statistics (Str/Dex/Int) determined the same as skills.

    Skill and stat atrophy (it was fine once they let you control locking and so-such) so that you could not get infinitely good by mastering every skill, but rather had to find your own balance and maintain it. However, you could freely switch skill lines with only a little work.

    Whether for better or worse, MMOGs have changed a lot since the beginning.
  • by RosethornKB ( 846283 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @04:18PM (#11653662) Homepage
    Try A Tale in the Desert [ataleinthedesert.com] :)
  • by Attaturk ( 695988 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @04:40PM (#11653802) Homepage
    I wish a game was open-ended where you could dabble in different areas as you went on, before deciding what to actually stick to. I want game rules like PvP that are determined by in-game repurcussions, not by hard-coded limits by the developers.

    I feel (see sig) obliged to point you in the direction of this [roma-victor.com], which certainly fits that description.
  • Already done (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @05:10PM (#11654062) Journal
    Virtual families already exist in Second Life [secondlife.com]. For example my character has a virtual mother, and one friend who married ingame has modified her character to look pregnant. Another friend who married and later divorced ingame has adopted another player as her son, etc... And there is a field in character profiles for your partner, be it husband or wife or whatever-you-call-it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2005 @05:52PM (#11654352)
    Simple, because they're visual. For example, building KDE for Linux requires a lot more extra work than building bash. (Yes, bash is complex and has lots of features, but face it, KDE is just more code.) The visual part just adds a great complexity. Lots more you can do, but it requires lots more work.
    Besides, I'm pretty sure even game developers hardly have a clue what MUDs are.
  • by RosethornKB ( 846283 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:58PM (#11654809) Homepage
    There are lots of games without combat that require skill to play. My comment was only about combat -- since that is what Smedley asks in his question. Right now, MMO's mostly use stats-based combat (meaning it compares the players stats against the mobs stats, then does a roll based on those stats and that determines damage, etc.). There's not a lot of true skill involved, since it is mainly dependant on your stats -- although there may be some strategy with special moves in certain MMO's that yield a higher degree of damage when used at the right time. Skill-based is often thought of as first person shooter combat aka twitch. A lot of woman will tell you they don't play FPS because they can't master the controls. I don't think its because we can't master them, but instead its that we don't have the patience to master them. We claim lack of coordination but the truth is its lack of interest in mastering controls. We'd rather be playing the game that struggling to play the controller. The commonly accepted figure in the industry right now is that 10% of MMO players are female. This is based off of gender polls during surveys and sign-ups for MMO's. Some MMO's have a higher percentage. Some, like Puzzle Pirates and A Tale in the Desert, have disproportionately high numbers. I've asked both of them what they think their numbers for female players are at. ATitD came back with about 50% and Puzzle Pirates said 40-50% and he thinks that ratio will keep going up. However, the standard sci-fi or fantasy based MMORPG with traditional MMO combat and gameplay is probably about 10%. I personally plan to do some kind of study to validate that number, since although its the accepted number, I've never seen any studies prove it. The point of all of this is that I really want to see combat that is truly based in skill with the game. How can we do that?

BLISS is ignorance.