Oct 22

The Ideal MMORPGIt still baffles my mind to this day as to why Star Wars Galaxies and Everquest (though not so much) are the only MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) to cater successfully to different types of gamers. There is a continuous stream of newer, prettier MMO games being released yearly, yet they all offer the same crap in a different shell. They are one-dimensional, RPGs (minus the RP) that are meant as time-sinks to attract the loyal wave of MMO gamers who will swoop in, max out their levels and fly away to play something else. It’s a vicious cycle of the same thing in and out.

The typical MMORPG assumes that every player is interested in being a hero. This is incorrect on many fronts, not everyone wants to be King Arthur, Conan the Barbarian or Legolas. Some players are quite fine being a simple blacksmith, a cobbler, an adventurer or a dancer. When I read developers saying that they are creating a game which “makes everyone a hero”, I can hardly withstand the bile building up in my throat. Do they not understand that this is what kills the longevity in your games? The process of building your game around players being heroes takes away from the little things that the non-heroes wish to enjoy that your game does not offer.

As an example of different jobs being fun and meaningful let’s illustrate the ultimate MMORPG – having a very intricate crafting system, (I love crafting if the system is complex enough to separate the masters from the inexperienced). To be an armor-smith, tailor or chef, you have to put in the time to do it. Crafters mine, hunt and survey for resources, using the best of the crop to forge the strongest armor. The heroes spend coin on the armor making the armor-smith wealthy. A wealthy armor-smith can pay an architect to make an elaborate house, he can then pay a tailor to sew him the finest garbs and afford mounts that are both fast and beautiful.

For the hero buying armor allows for him to withstand the damage of the most powerful denizens. It grants him variety in looks if the armorsmith can customize it’s appearance and in the deepest, most dangerous dungeons he can find the rarest ores to give a master armorsmith to forge godly armor. Do you see my pattern here?

While Star Wars Galaxies gave us many, many jobs that catered to everyone, none could be seen as worthless. The only problem with SWG however was that half of these jobs were broken. So why not utilize this system to create a fresh, new MMORPG that caters to more than the grinders, the PvPers and the Roleplayers? Crafters who can be famous for melding the grandest of weapons and armor. Dancers who are reknowned for being both charming and skilled in buffing your stats. Tailors whose experimentation and access to skilled hunters can provide you with the rarest of robes. Etc. Etc.

Right now all I see is the ancient Dungeons and Dragons setup of “be a hero”, heal, fight or cast. Nothing else. The people who wish to be commonfolk are forced to negate the gaming mechanics to pretend that they are a dancer, a traveling minstrel or a skilled artisan. This leads me to ask, what justifies $15 a month if you are having to make-up something that a developer should have added in the first place?

Here’s the thing gamers, developers don’t know these things unless we show that it is important. Stop paying for games that are cute but doesn’t offer the things you need. I know a ton of people who haven’t left Star Wars Galaxies because of everything I have outlined here. You want them to join your game? Then please stop copying The World of Warcraft and provide us gaming beyond the 3rd person scope of a King Arthur wannabe.

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  • Can not agree more!!!!
    A friend and I have begun to chronicle our ideas on why MMOs fail.
    http://idealmmorpg.blogspot.com/

    SOOOO tired of the “hero in a box” MMO development. I can’t tell if they are lazy, or if there are simply vast, gaping holes in their understanding of what constitutes fun that makes the template stay as it is.

    • Hey Paulus that is an awesome idea for a blog and I will be reading what you guys have to say. Hopefully things like this will grab the attention of a well meaning Dev and someone will get it right. The Old Republic is on the horizon and as much as I love Bioware it looks to be the same ‘ol, same ‘ol which is pretty sad. Good luck on your site, I will be visiting periodically and hopefully any gamers that come through here and see your link will show you love too.

      • Yeah, I saw that they have the “Crafting as an afterthought” attitude, and the “everyone’s a hero from day one” to boot. No hope for TOR 🙁

        They actually said, “Crafting isn’t really a big part of the universe [the star wars universe].”
        My jaw dropped open.