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Author Topic: Crowfall aka Play2Crush aka Shadowbane II aka Nostalgia Online  (Read 79476 times)
Surlyboi
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Reply #35 on: December 25, 2014, 09:26:11 PM

Quote
It's not a question of "Is there a market for this."

It's a question of, "Will the developers budget for, plan to and understand the size of that market."

Most likely outcome? Nope. There's a history of that here. Trotting out PLAY2CRUSH 10 years later doesn't raise my hopes, either. It lowers them.

Then, in 4-5 years after the explosion, when this cycle happens again, we'll see the same arguments. The game was coded poorly, the game didn't understand the market. The game could have been epic If Only.  If. If. If.

Also, since subs are dead, we're likely to have a nice heaping of, "There was too much Paywall bullshit in the way. "

PVP is a thing and it's always been popular in computer games. Since the first DOOM and QUAKE deathmatches and the MUDS before them.  What they've all had in common is fast in, fast out games where the only real loss is what happened over that game session.

Start tying in long-term stats, equipment games and profiles and you get something different. People expect not to lose their session gains, only to lose matches. That's more like your traditional MMO and doesn't work well at all with permadeth and full loot. Not if you're aiming at a big audience.

Aim at 40-100k? Sure, go for it. There's a niche there you can run with. Too bad egos and investors expect more.
This.

PVP is awesome when it has no lasting effects on the players. A lot of loud people will tell you differently and that without serious stakes, there's no sense in doing it. A lot of those people are fucking morons and will be the first to ragequit when shit doesn't go their way. As has been said further up thread, play to crush is great for a small subset of the playerbase. It doesn't work for the masses, at least not the masses that the money douches are looking for to qualify shit as a "success".
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 10:00:32 PM by Surlyboi »

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
Merusk
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Reply #36 on: December 25, 2014, 09:46:29 PM

Page 2 now. Quote it, slim.

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Threash
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Reply #37 on: December 25, 2014, 09:48:30 PM

It's not a question of "Is there a market for this."

It's a question of, "Will the developers budget for, plan to and understand the size of that market."

Most likely outcome? Nope.

Well you know, they literally say so in their one paragraph website.

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Soulflame
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Reply #38 on: December 26, 2014, 08:09:09 AM

Darkfall was shut down two years ago.  Darkfall:  Unholy Wars is a arena style PvP game which is doing fairly poorly, and seems to be slowly heading down the path of F2P.  (Apparently the asian version is already F2P.)

I don't understand why you're touting Darkfall as any sort of metric pointing to desire for this sort of game, or any possibility of success for this style of game.

The fact of the matter is, the sort of game you want is best enjoyed in the first two to three months (like most MMOs, to be fair.)  Populations are at their height, people haven't figured out the cheesiest builds to "own" everyone else, and people are still in the honeymoon phase, so they're willing to overlook bugs, problems with the playerbase, or the fact that LordUTaekitInTehAzz is constantly killing them at the spawn point.

After that point, established players can trivially trounce new players, which rapidly leads to their exit.  The existing playerbase is cannibalized, as the worst players quietly exit, when they realize they aren't having fun being randomly killed and looted by players they have little to no chance to beat.  The communities are toxic as hell (always a problem on the internet:  c.f. The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, but this time with actual in game effects that people can only brush off for so long.)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2014, 08:13:19 AM by Soulflame »
HaemishM
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Reply #39 on: December 26, 2014, 10:29:20 AM

League of Legends proved there is a market for "PVP." Only that PVP is not in a persistent fucking world with any sort of actual loss attributed to being the loser. You'd think people who have lost money and jobs trying to build for the vast Mongloid hordes of shit-talking twats out there would have fucking twigged to that by now. Forum posters, people who take polls and people who contribute to Kickstarter's are not even close to any sort of majority, so unless you can make your game completely funded by this vocal shitstains, you can forget making a PVP persistent world MMOG with "real stakes" at risk. It doesn't matter how well executed they are (and with the crew listed on that web site, it will not be anywhere near well-executed), the market IS NOT THERE.

The worst thing people risk in LoL is their ranking, and it is STILL filled with a vile toxic playerbase full of people who may or may not be paying one thin dime to the company making the game. Those people aren't waiting for a persistent world fuckfest where they can lose all their shit. The day of the commercial full-on PVP MMO is DONE. PVP'ers lost, but they mainly lost because they cannot fucking control their urges to be complete and utter shitheels to the people who provide the games (the devs) and the sheeple they feast upon in game.

sam, an eggplant
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Reply #40 on: December 26, 2014, 11:18:38 AM

Oh is that right? I thought Unholy Wars was an expansion pack. I stand corrected, then. No exclusively PvP focused MMO has proven to be successful.

MOBAs aren't MMOs. No persistent world.
jakonovski
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Reply #41 on: December 26, 2014, 11:53:43 AM

I think it's mostly down to nobody being able to make an MMO that isn't a pile of hot garbage. They're all tedious, even if you successfully play2crush it's going to be fucking boring for 99% of the time.

 

 

HaemishM
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Reply #42 on: December 26, 2014, 03:57:59 PM

MOBAs aren't MMOs. No persistent world.

Exactly. They are popular. MMOG's are not - they have reached their peak and are in steady decline.

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Reply #43 on: December 26, 2014, 04:54:16 PM

I'm beginning to think I should open a consultancy for investors to tell them when a video game project is a bad fucking idea.

That might be my "million dollar idea."
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Reply #44 on: December 26, 2014, 10:19:47 PM

MOBAs aren't MMOs. No persistent world.

Feh, that hasn't been a hard and fast rule since instantiated zones, compartmentalized battlegrounds and arenas became the norm. Between persistent accounts that accumulate achievements between matches, abilities based on bandwidth+choices+skills, XP meters used to unlock abilities, virtual/real trading shops, and matchmaking with specific or random groups, about the only thing truly unique to MMOs anymore is that once you leave a zone, it's still there for the next random explorer. And heck, even in WoW, that's not anywhere near 100% of the zones.

About the only actual MMO left by its arguably original definition is Eve. However, I think of Eve more as its own genre than an "MMO". Who competes with Eve?

MMOs have had their day as The Next Big Thing attracting all the investment, and all the good ideas they spawned have long since been ripped off by the other genres.
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Reply #45 on: December 26, 2014, 10:46:07 PM

ArcheAge still fits too, for the most part.

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rk47
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Reply #46 on: December 27, 2014, 12:03:34 AM

Can't hear you, Ren. Too busy AFK-ing in my house grinding skills while I'm sleeping.

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Malakili
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Reply #47 on: December 27, 2014, 06:06:42 AM


MOBAs aren't MMOs. No persistent world.

Few people want PvP in an open world because people don't like to do stuff they don't absolutely want to do right at that moment in their video games.  Open World PvP, in practice, means "PvP even when I don't want to PvP" and no one has to play League of Legends when they want to be picking flowers.  It's pretty simple. The successful Open World games (Skyrim for example) have gotten rid of barriers to doing what you want while these kind of old school MMOs are pretty much ABOUT the barriers.

In the meantime, you've got people like my brother in-law who I was talking to on Christmas about games.  He was singing the praises of Skyrim because he likes "open world" games, but thought that "new one" (he mean't Elder Scrolls Online) was bullshit because it was online all the time and multiplayer only.   He doesn't even know what an MMO is and he is much more representative of the game playing public than I am.

Draegan
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Reply #48 on: December 27, 2014, 01:14:09 PM


MOBAs aren't MMOs. No persistent world.

Few people want PvP in an open world because people don't like to do stuff they don't absolutely want to do right at that moment in their video games.  Open World PvP, in practice, means "PvP even when I don't want to PvP" and no one has to play League of Legends when they want to be picking flowers.  It's pretty simple. The successful Open World games (Skyrim for example) have gotten rid of barriers to doing what you want while these kind of old school MMOs are pretty much ABOUT the barriers.

In the meantime, you've got people like my brother in-law who I was talking to on Christmas about games.  He was singing the praises of Skyrim because he likes "open world" games, but thought that "new one" (he mean't Elder Scrolls Online) was bullshit because it was online all the time and multiplayer only.   He doesn't even know what an MMO is and he is much more representative of the game playing public than I am.



Depends what his age bracket is. Because all the kids that have been in my wife's middle school classes (6th through 8th grade) all know what WOW/MMOs are.
Kitsune
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Reply #49 on: December 27, 2014, 03:17:01 PM

The thing any PvP game needs is AI carebears.  Just make them indistinguishable from players and have them run around farming ore nodes or whatnot.  Then when they get jumped by a player, they have about a ten percent chance to make a randomly generated ragepost about it on the game forum talking about how they're quitting forever.  GOTY, more subs than WoW.
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Reply #50 on: December 27, 2014, 08:25:22 PM

The thing any PvP game needs is AI carebears.  Just make them indistinguishable from players and have them run around farming ore nodes or whatnot.  Then when they get jumped by a player, they have about a ten percent chance to make a randomly generated ragepost about it on the game forum talking about how they're quitting forever.  GOTY, more subs than WoW.

You can't make AI cry IRL...or can you? ACK!

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sam, an eggplant
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Reply #51 on: December 27, 2014, 10:28:11 PM

You can't make AI cry IRL...or can you? ACK!
Sure, logical fallacy their ass. "This statement is false" fucks 'em up good.
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Reply #52 on: December 28, 2014, 01:07:10 AM

League of Legends proved there is a market for "PVP." Only that PVP is not in a persistent fucking world with any sort of actual loss attributed to being the loser. You'd think people who have lost money and jobs trying to build for the vast Mongloid hordes of shit-talking twats out there would have fucking twigged to that by now. Forum posters, people who take polls and people who contribute to Kickstarter's are not even close to any sort of majority, so unless you can make your game completely funded by this vocal shitstains, you can forget making a PVP persistent world MMOG with "real stakes" at risk. It doesn't matter how well executed they are (and with the crew listed on that web site, it will not be anywhere near well-executed), the market IS NOT THERE.

The worst thing people risk in LoL is their ranking, and it is STILL filled with a vile toxic playerbase full of people who may or may not be paying one thin dime to the company making the game. Those people aren't waiting for a persistent world fuckfest where they can lose all their shit. The day of the commercial full-on PVP MMO is DONE. PVP'ers lost, but they mainly lost because they cannot fucking control their urges to be complete and utter shitheels to the people who provide the games (the devs) and the sheeple they feast upon in game.

This really should be bolded and sticked somewhere prominent.

MOBAs stole the ground from MMO PVP a long time ago in video game terms. MOBAs are cheaper to build and let players get right to the fun part without making them spend time killing giant rats to earn the right to play what they want to play.

I'm beginning to think I should open a consultancy for investors to tell them when a video game project is a bad fucking idea.

That might be my "million dollar idea."

Call the company "Pretty Much All Of Them Inc".

You can reference us as your freelance consulting team.

Sutro
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Reply #53 on: December 28, 2014, 01:31:03 AM

I think the discussion here is evident of an outdated vision of what a profitable AA- MMO is now.

I don't think this is going to check in as another AA/A 3D open world with your usual mob camps, pathing and AI. Rather, what's making the money hand over fist in the sub-AA MMO genre is a very cookie cutter formula either derived from Travian or from (way back) Lineage and (more recently) Wartune. If you're familiar with Wartune, it's now been reskinned into dozens of different games, essentially just like it, and all just scooping in dough.

My best prediction of what this will look like is a 2D world, played in a browser, that acts more like HOMM than EverQuest, with an extensive kingdom building system that is derivative of Farmville. No way this comes in with a subscription. It's going to be pay2win and never look back.

Walton and Warden have been around long enough to recognize the wisdom of the sentence, "Why would you ever not have a system that allows the customer to spend as much money as they want?" Remember that Warden's coming from the pay2win space already, and has done very well with it.

Interesting observation from playing lots of these (mostly Chinese translated) games over the past few years: Yes, the $5000+ whales win, but rarely by as much a margin as you would think. Smart system design can mitigate the wallet warrior. If they design in diminishing spend returns, as well as guild battle system that rewards numbers and strategy equally to individual player strength, it could turn out quite nicely. If Wartune had been reskinned by native Western language speakers and cultured writers, it could have been a real phenomenon.

To wit: I've run several guilds in these games where my total spend has clocked in at ~$100-200, with a smattering of people whose spends are similar, and we've very often toasted $20,000+ spending whales because what they have in willingness to load on their credit card they lack in guild building, recruiting acumen and strategy.

Draegan
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Reply #54 on: December 28, 2014, 09:36:38 AM

League of Legends proved there is a market for "PVP." Only that PVP is not in a persistent fucking world with any sort of actual loss attributed to being the loser. You'd think people who have lost money and jobs trying to build for the vast Mongloid hordes of shit-talking twats out there would have fucking twigged to that by now. Forum posters, people who take polls and people who contribute to Kickstarter's are not even close to any sort of majority, so unless you can make your game completely funded by this vocal shitstains, you can forget making a PVP persistent world MMOG with "real stakes" at risk. It doesn't matter how well executed they are (and with the crew listed on that web site, it will not be anywhere near well-executed), the market IS NOT THERE.

The worst thing people risk in LoL is their ranking, and it is STILL filled with a vile toxic playerbase full of people who may or may not be paying one thin dime to the company making the game. Those people aren't waiting for a persistent world fuckfest where they can lose all their shit. The day of the commercial full-on PVP MMO is DONE. PVP'ers lost, but they mainly lost because they cannot fucking control their urges to be complete and utter shitheels to the people who provide the games (the devs) and the sheeple they feast upon in game.

This really should be bolded and sticked somewhere prominent.

MOBAs stole the ground from MMO PVP a long time ago in video game terms. MOBAs are cheaper to build and let players get right to the fun part without making them spend time killing giant rats to earn the right to play what they want to play.

I'm beginning to think I should open a consultancy for investors to tell them when a video game project is a bad fucking idea.

That might be my "million dollar idea."

Call the company "Pretty Much All Of Them Inc".

You can reference us as your freelance consulting team.


While I agree with all of this, I still believe that you can make a great MMO open world PVP game if it's actually designed by people who aren't idiots. Basically means getting rid of levels and quest grinds and somehow thinking up of a way to give players something to "persist" over that isn't +1 gooder gear.

To me, it's trying to creating a MOBA like game but in a persistent world. Instead of collecting gear, you collect classes. Full loot PVP, but gear is very very easy to get in the same sense items are "easy" to get in a game of DOTA/LOL. I dunno, I think it can be done.

Or maybe you make a game that lasts a week instead of 20-50 minutes. Duno.

edit:
I guess the point is, all MMO devs are dumb and so that means you'll never have a good MMO again.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 09:39:38 AM by Draegan »
Malakili
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Reply #55 on: December 28, 2014, 09:46:51 AM

If you are going to do a PvP MMO I think the way to go is to minimize the RPG elements - those are the ones that fuck up PvP more than anything.  World War 2 Online with more arcadey gameplay seems like it could be a hit.  Or from the other side of the equation, Planetside 2 with campaigns that have a win condition before resetting like World War 2 Online's do.  I'd play that.
HaemishM
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Reply #56 on: December 28, 2014, 01:41:16 PM

I still believe that you can make a great MMO open world PVP game if it's actually designed by people who aren't idiots.

edit:
I guess the point is, all MMO devs are dumb and so that means you'll never have a good MMO again.

Your edit demonstrates that your belief is blind faith based on nothing like reality, because as we've all seen, I don't trust one experienced MMO dev out there to deliver anything like a competent game anymore unless that game is nothing more than a clone iteration of every other Diku we've seen since Diku wasn't even Diku.

Venkman
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Reply #57 on: December 28, 2014, 07:30:49 PM

To me, it's trying to creating a MOBA like game but in a persistent world. Instead of collecting gear, you collect classes. Full loot PVP, but gear is very very easy to get in the same sense items are "easy" to get in a game of DOTA/LOL. I dunno, I think it can be done.

So, then, Call of Duty? Or if less twitchy: Titanfall?

I'm not being facetous. Yes I realize you mean "persistent world" in the sense of a WoW zone; however, there's little personal difference between Westfall and some FPS level, except that one doesn't require any other player to instantiate it. And even though Westfall doesn't require this, empty zones are also a major problem for persistent worlds rather than a major benefit.

And yes, I'm making the old EQ vs GW(1) argument about persistence vs instances  awesome, for real

But fast that debate forward a decade:

My earlier point was that "MMO" is no longer an aggregate of systems unique to highly buggy ever changing persistent online worlds. FPS games adding classes, XP and gear progression was just one of many genres to rip off the parts that drove the MMO scene. Not all of it translates to other genres, but that's more based on whether the idea was good than whether the idea fundamentally needs a persistent world.

FPS, RTS and MOBAs have since proved that the most important persistence for gamers is the account, not an always-on virtual room.

To be an "MMO" is to find something so unique that better playing games don't already have it (narrower features, controllable QA, etc, though apparently even this is hard based on this crappy year of buggy launches). But instead of being up against a bunch of single player or session-only games, you're up against everything being online in a range from "a little/co-op" through "a lot/arena", all in games that were cheaper to make and require less live support.

Not a business I'd recommend to anyone  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?
Malakili
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Reply #58 on: December 28, 2014, 07:47:08 PM

FPS, RTS and MOBAs have since proved that the most important persistence for gamers is the account, not an always-on virtual room.

That's obviously true, but that just means gamers don't actually turn out to like what we used to call MMOs, not that MMO now includes everything with persistence.  Which is, like, every game in the world.
Draegan
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Reply #59 on: December 28, 2014, 10:56:07 PM

You do realize plenty of people still play even terrible PVP MMOs that turn out to suck. There are plenty of people looking to play some kind of persistent game world with pvp. All you get is shit like AA, ESO, WH or whatever shitty game of the month is. GW2 etc.
Draegan
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Reply #60 on: December 28, 2014, 10:57:07 PM

To me, it's trying to creating a MOBA like game but in a persistent world. Instead of collecting gear, you collect classes. Full loot PVP, but gear is very very easy to get in the same sense items are "easy" to get in a game of DOTA/LOL. I dunno, I think it can be done.

So, then, Call of Duty? Or if less twitchy: Titanfall?

I'm not being facetous. Yes I realize you mean "persistent world" in the sense of a WoW zone;

Well why did you write the rest of that then?
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Reply #61 on: December 29, 2014, 06:27:17 AM

I still have to make a case for:

- DayZ
- Rust
- Life is Feudal
- 7 Days to Die
- plenty of other games of this kind that are rising or still alive.

These games have sold MILLIONS of boxes despite being in a greatly unfinished state. DayZ topped at 28k *concurrent* players yesterday, more than a year after becoming available, and still 14th overall on Steam despite being in alpha. Rust at 11k (23th) and yet another alpha game in a very poort state. 7 Days to Die, another alpha Early Access, has a concurrent top of 11k. If you put those numbers together you get much more thant the 20-40k we have discussed earlier in the thread since these figures are for top concurrent users, and this is for games that have very little to offer other than "ambiance" and "full loot PvP". EVE deservers to be part of the list too, and the figures go up.

I tried to ask you a question before: how many of you would have predicted that a game like DayZ could sell 3 million copies? Or how many of you would have predicted it could sell 300k copies? The answer is no one. Now, since you have been wrong once on this topic before, I think there's a fair chance you are wrong again. Just REMEMBER: no one is saying that open world and full loot PvP will ever get out of a niche! Just that the niche can create a profit as long as the game doesn't suck and the design is not just a rehash of the failed attempts of the past. Could it be the 3D? Could it be the lack of swords and magic? Could it be the voice communication? I couldn't design these games or I would be as rich as Rocket Hall so I don't know, but it is obvious that between DayZ and EVE online lies the recipe for the game about 50k concurrent people want to play.

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Reply #62 on: December 29, 2014, 08:42:33 AM

I tried to ask you a question before: how many of you would have predicted that a game like DayZ could sell 3 million copies? Or how many of you would have predicted it could sell 300k copies? The answer is no one.
I've been an advocate of cheaper/no-subs increasing player rates since forever.

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Reply #63 on: December 29, 2014, 08:53:22 AM

Are any of those actually MMOs? Don't think anyone is arguing that people don't enjoy killing other players. But Street Fighter IV Alpha Max Edition Turbo Plus isn't a MMO either.
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Reply #64 on: December 29, 2014, 09:24:04 AM

I am sure we agree that the definition is now pretty vague, but I think they are yes. Your characters, items, buildings and vehicles persist on the servers which range from 60 to 200 concurrent users. Some of these games are even developing a "central economy", and you cannot achieve anything offline or privately that you can then move to a persistent server (reason why Elite Dangerous doesn't qualify). Definitely not the EQ/WoW fashion of MMORPG, but that's kind of my point: a new breed of Open World PvP oriented with full loot MMORPGs can work and it's already working. What is missing, and not to go global but to get to those profitable numbers we have mentioned over and over, is more glue keeping the different elements together as older MMOs used to do when there weren't that many to choose from, but it's not "wolves and sheeps" that has been killing the genre for ten years preventing even those who like the concept from playing it. It has been a lack of talent, quality, and some thinking out of the box. As some said before, the key probably lies in creating soft caps where dying is serious but not the end of the world, and where strenght lies in player interactions, or eventually skill, instead of catassing.

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Reply #65 on: December 29, 2014, 09:27:14 AM

Are any of those actually MMOs? Don't think anyone is arguing that people don't enjoy killing other players. But Street Fighter IV Alpha Max Edition Turbo Plus isn't a MMO either.

They also ALL play off the "alpha access" to cover-up the bugs, shitty coding and other nonsense.

If you have to pay money and there's no cap on the amount of people let in it's not an alpha or a beta.  It's a bad and unfinished game you've duped idiots into paying for. Sorry.

Only with software are people this gullible. Kudos to the assholes for squeezing them.

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Lantyssa
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Reply #66 on: December 29, 2014, 10:08:35 AM

Some of them remind me more of a new generation of MUDs.  Paying a lot is silly, but donating a little time or money to keep them going isn't a terrible waste if you enjoy what they offer.

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sam, an eggplant
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Reply #67 on: December 29, 2014, 10:57:06 AM

I am sure we agree that the definition is now pretty vague, but I think they are yes. Your characters, items, buildings and vehicles persist on the servers which range from 60 to 200 concurrent users. Some of these games are even developing a "central economy", and you cannot achieve anything offline or privately that you can then move to a persistent server
At 200 users max they certainly aren't massively multiplayer-- but once you get past that mental gap yeah, if you've got a persistent world with an economy, it's a MMO. Really persistence is my "I know pornography when I see it" threshold. Persistence=MMO. Non-persistent=not.
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Reply #68 on: December 29, 2014, 11:48:32 AM

I am sure we agree that the definition is now pretty vague, but I think they are yes. Your characters, items, buildings and vehicles persist on the servers which range from 60 to 200 concurrent users. Some of these games are even developing a "central economy", and you cannot achieve anything offline or privately that you can then move to a persistent server
At 200 users max they certainly aren't massively multiplayer-- but once you get past that mental gap yeah, if you've got a persistent world with an economy, it's a MMO. Really persistence is my "I know pornography when I see it" threshold. Persistence=MMO. Non-persistent=not.

What MMO is actually massive? Outside of standing idle in a city, would you ever notice the difference between 50 or 2000 people on a WOW server? I think that's the problem some people have.

Are any of those actually MMOs? Don't think anyone is arguing that people don't enjoy killing other players. But Street Fighter IV Alpha Max Edition Turbo Plus isn't a MMO either.

They also ALL play off the "alpha access" to cover-up the bugs, shitty coding and other nonsense.

If you have to pay money and there's no cap on the amount of people let in it's not an alpha or a beta.  It's a bad and unfinished game you've duped idiots into paying for. Sorry.

Only with software are people this gullible. Kudos to the assholes for squeezing them.

Oh god forbid some people have fun with a game for a small chunk of coin.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 11:51:55 AM by Draegan »
Malakili
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Reply #69 on: December 29, 2014, 12:29:34 PM


What MMO is actually massive? Outside of standing idle in a city, would you ever notice the difference between 50 or 2000 people on a WOW server? I think that's the problem some people have.

...

Oh god forbid some people have fun with a game for a small chunk of coin.

I think anyone who has played in an MMO where there server population is dying can tell you there is a pretty big qualitative difference in the experience. There is something about a persistent world that that is self contained.  Just that pool of players, just that pool of characters, just that finite space.   Running into a guy questing in the same area all week because you both log in after work every day, make friends, add to your friends list, team up for dungeons in your level range.  That kind of stuff is really compelling in a way that isn't replicated by games that instance all their zones such that I never see the same people twice.  So yeah, the difference between 50 people and 2000 people does matter a lot.

As for the alpha backing things - I think it's fine to do and play IF you can get something out of the game immediately.  However, I am honestly pretty nervous about what it means for the hobby as a whole when there is a lot of incentive to put something out there that is unfinished by kind of compelling because you can make loads of cash off the hype.  I've done it a few times myself and have had mixed results.  I've been pretty judicious, so I've only felt like I really made a mistake once. 

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