#1 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Procedural generation will soon be at a point, where an MMO could create a whole planet for each player. Or enable a developer to create a gameworld so vast, there's like one player per hunderd square miles, even if it's like a 10,000 player-cap server.

Fully procedural MMOs are about to happen. Will that rekindle the MMO-Magic, so many of us have lost since we first were enchanted by the genre's promises and possiblities? I wonder.

#2 Posted by BaneFireLord (2928 posts) -

Anything that allows me to have fun while never interacting with real people in an MMO is a good thing.

#3 Posted by Kidavenger (3533 posts) -

What is the point of it being a mmo then? Sounds like you just want a big open world rpg like Skyrim.

#4 Edited by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

Well no. Not at all.

The MMO part of MMORPG's is kinda the important part. More-so than the "RPG" part. If i have my own procedurally generated planet why am i playing multiplayer? I mean whats the point of playing an MMO if you barely interact with other people?

Does procedural stuff have a place in MMOs? Absolutely, making new dungeons and encounters each time you do it so you're not running the same damn place 20 times would be fantastic. But scaling the world up so massively just to spread the players out seems like it'd make the world seem empty and devoid of life. MMO's are supposed to be active and social, not the opposite.

#5 Edited by Aegon (5544 posts) -

Generally I don't enjoy MMOs, but if there happened to be one that didn't require sucking monthly payments out of me and was fun, then I probably wouldn't want there to be swarms of people all around in one spot. For one, it's ridiculous seeing all those people talking to the same quest givers, going back and forth. Secondly, if this was a PC game, I'd have to get something that could handle the onslaught.

So I guess I'd rather play an MMO on a console. I've seen my little brother playing the FF XIV beta on his PS4. Don't know if it's fun, but it looks pretty (cool / different / goofy armor designs) and runs nicely.

Online
#6 Posted by Wampa1 (647 posts) -

Yeah, I would since seeing twenty people waiting for a chest to respawn in ESO so that I can complete a quest doesn't make me feel like I'm in a living world, it makes me realize I'm just in a Que or a giant chatroom. But then it isn't really an MMO is it? I'd prefer something between Skyrim and an MMO in which there is permanence and it feels alive, even if it has all the jank of those games.

Online
#7 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4417 posts) -

Yes and no. No because most of the time playing an MMO without ever running into anyone is quite boring and makes the game world feel lifeless. Yes because I feel like if the world was so big that you rarely saw anyone, it could lead to some interesting gameplay that ends up being some weird, awesome love-child of DayZ, Destiny, and Eve. That is, of course, assuming they add gameplay systems to make that large world interesting and not just "yo dawg we made a gigantic version of WoW."

#8 Posted by TobbRobb (4603 posts) -

Can I have the MMO be only me and maybe a friend or two? Thanks that sounds good.

#9 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@kidavenger said:

What is the point of it being a mmo then? Sounds like you just want a big open world rpg like Skyrim.

Why would it be less of a MMO, if being social is more of a choice, rather than a fact of design? What would stop you from forming a guild? Terraform a planet with your peers? Build a Death Star and go all *Exterminatus* on everyone you manage to find? Or something?

The point of it being a MMO is that there are thousands of other players you could meet. It's just, you'll have to seek them out, rather than them just being around.

P.S. essentially I just described what No Man's Sky promises to be.

#10 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

In such a procedural MMO, how would NPCs work? Could *unshackled AI* NPC factions exist? Factions that try to expand and grow like a RTS AI does? Like could there be fully autonomous Zerg and Protoss and whatnot, and the players caught up in the middle of galactic AI war?

Oh man, I'd like to see that.

#11 Edited by Zeik (2390 posts) -

I actually like the idea of an MMO where you can sparsely and randomly run into people as you're adventuring, hopefully making each of those encounters meaningful. The ironic about how MMO's are now, with anywhere from dozens to hundreds of people in any given place at a time, is that you rarely ever interact directly with any of them. When you do interact with others it's when you're forming a party, which almost never happens dynamically when you're exploring. (And dynamic events don't really accomplish this, because they're generally just a bunch of solo players that happen to be participating in the same event.)

Having thousands of heroes running around the world honestly makes MMO worlds feel less immersive. I want an MMO that doesn't feel like my presence is completely insignificant, because there's like 5 heroes for every other living thing in the world. Which maybe isn't an MMO anymore, but I think I might enjoy it more.

#12 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

Big budget MMOs don't look to have a very bright future. MMOs are at their best on the best servers with lots of competent people; defeats the purpose to not encounter another player; you might as well just play Diablo 2 or something.

#13 Posted by 49th (2734 posts) -

No, I don't play MMOs but I would like the opposite. Give me a world with millions of people.

#14 Edited by audioBusting (1511 posts) -

I'd be okay if I like playing it. If someone just came up with a procedural version of the average MMORPG with a bigger world and a lower player density, I still wouldn't play it. It sounds irrelevant to me.

#15 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3229 posts) -

I just wish there was a way to have thousands of players running around a single town without everything just looking incredibly, incredibly stupid.

#16 Edited by tourgen (4474 posts) -

There hasn't been a new MMORPG in years. If it's just hub worlds, instances, and now even instanced quests it's not an MMO game. It's just a kind of weak party server system for 4-8 person missions. Sometimes a little more, but always instanced. Plenty of people playing today who have never logged into a real massively multiplayer online game.

#17 Posted by futurstock (136 posts) -

i would like everything to be instanced, and scale-able so you can do everything alone or with 1 other person

#18 Posted by ripelivejam (3816 posts) -

why can't we have the type of mmo where (maybe almost) every part is played by an actual human. the vendors, the quest givers, the enemies, even the bosses maybe? and have everything pretty much player generated. i guess eve online already kind of fits this bill but i think it would be a really compelling update for the genre. only problem is i would be too afraid/nervous to really get into it and it would be so hardcore i'd have to devote a large chunk of my time to it. but it'd be awesome to hear stories about it!

i know there's probably quite a few other things fitting this bill and maybe it wasn't that successful of an idea in the end. the wanton lawlessness of it would have to be its heart, but given a chance i believe it eventually would regulate itself (to a degree).

#19 Posted by Juzie (168 posts) -

^Good idea. Something like in LOTRO where you could play as Trolls and monsters vs players. But more emphasis on the trolls/bosses would be pretty awesome. I think they'd need to do a lot of work regarding the rewards system so people don't just let each other win but im sure a good dev could come up with a solution.

I am completely against less density of players though, I would much rather more reason to interact with each other as a true fix rather than just zoning each other into different instances. There are singleplayer games for that. I don't really like the idea of guild only interaction either. Most of the reason MMOs are getting stale to me and I think many other people is that they are already moving away from the social part year by year.

#20 Edited by audioBusting (1511 posts) -

@tourgen said:

There hasn't been a new MMORPG in years. If it's just hub worlds, instances, and now even instanced quests it's not an MMO game. It's just a kind of weak party server system for 4-8 person missions. Sometimes a little more, but always instanced. Plenty of people playing today who have never logged into a real massively multiplayer online game.

Huh? Off the top of my head, I recall Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, TERA, and FF14 being actual MMO's and released in the past couple of years. I get what you mean though; lots of "MMORPG's" aren't actually massive in-game these days, which isn't actually a bad thing (Guild Wars 1 and Spiral Knights come to mind).

#21 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

No because that is dumb sorry but the whole point is that the social element IS part of the experience and the attraction. Which is why I enjoyed Final Fantasy XI so much. It was a game that absolutely forced you to party up with people or die. What is the point of any MMO if all you are going to do is lone wolf it?

#22 Edited by Zeik (2390 posts) -

@demoskinos: Honestly I hated that about FFXI. Being forced to get a group together to do anything and everything got super frustrating quickly for me. I like interacting with other people in an MMO, but once it becomes mandatory then it starts to feel like a chore. I hate having to rely that much on other people to have fun. Especially when half the time you're just waiting around for a party to form.

#23 Edited by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@zeik said:

@demoskinos: Honestly I hated that about FFXI. Being forced to get a group together to do anything and everything got super frustrating quickly for me. I like interacting with other people in an MMO, but once it becomes mandatory then it starts to feel like a chore. I hate having to rely that much on other people to have fun. Especially when half the time you're just waiting around for a party to form.

It was a game that played by a very strict set of rules. It was brutal and unforgiving but I think that lent it the ability to in the end feel vastly more rewarding when you hit milestones. I really don't like this mentality that so many modern MMO's have of treating you essentially like a pet feeding you little treats constantly so they don't lose your attention. And say what you will about it but other than World of Warcraft Final Fantasy XI is one of the few MMO's that still has an active player base that pays monthly for its subscription. Almost no MMO's these days last on the pay model and FFXI has done it almost as long as World of Warcraft has and they even released a new expansion last year. I adamantly think that the rigid structure of the game is the reason why its been so successful. Some people may not have the stones to stick around but those who do find a game that is incredibly rewarding in the end.

#24 Posted by Nodima (1165 posts) -

My only experience with MMOs are the Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV betas, and I have to say while I'm hooked on FFXIV for what it is (like XI, I won't be paying for it when given the opportunity) I remember being a bit awe struck by how easy it all was. I hit level 20 in 3 days and that was mostly because I spent the first few levels in confusion; when I started a new class, I hit level 10 in a matter of hours. I still vividly remember hitting, what, level 5 or 6 in the medieval city of FF XI, having to do this quest to go hunt a lizard king or something, and if you didn't have a solid part of 3+ people heading off to do that fight you were boooooned.

I remember level 13 or 15 being a really, really big deal for a lot of classes, and I remember people partying up just to help one guy get from level 17 to level 20 in the snowy area with the giant building in the middle of the map and massive golems stomping around everywhere. By contrast, the only interaction I've had with people in five days of FF XIV is with a couple of my friends, but that was just a party chat. The three of us were still all off doing our own things all over the game world, levels and cities apart from each other.

#25 Edited by ajamafalous (11963 posts) -

No, and it's a fucking stupid question/idea. Don't play an MMO if you don't want to see or interact with other people.

Not every game or genre has to appeal to you, and not every game or genre needs to drastically change to do so. Play something else.

#26 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: @49th: @demoskinos: @ajamafalous:

I'm not talking about decreasing player density by decreasing playercount. I'm talking of achieving it by changing the ratio of landmass versus playercount, and how players are deployed into the game. Imagine if a developer creates a landmass akin to planet Earth, and it fits like 50,000 players on a server (the average MMO is like 3000-5000 I believe), but drops everyone randomly somewhere on the planet, like you've crashed in your spaceship somewhere on an alien planet. The chances of running into another person without actively pursuing such would be very slim.

There wouldn't be less players on a server. Finding or avoiding other players would be part of the appeal. Imagine it like Rust or Minecraft. You start out having nothing, and your goal is to hold dominion over your land to survive, eventually to thrive enough to venture out and explore the vastness of the game. Maybe you want to meet other players to achieve things together a single player alone cannot do. Or maybe you want to prey on others? Sneak into a player settlement in the dead of night and steal the helicopter you could never build alone?

I think an extreme decrease of player density and an unshackling of the player in terms of what is allowed would create a much more socially engaging and interesting game, that's really about player interaction, rather than just what the social element in most MMOs has devolved into. Chatrooms.

#27 Posted by ajamafalous (11963 posts) -

@seppli said:

@fredchuckdave: @49th: @demoskinos: @ajamafalous:

I'm not talking about decreasing player density by decreasing playercount. I'm talking of achieving it by changing the ratio of landmass versus playercount, and how players are deployed into the game. Imagine if a developer creates a landmass akin to planet Earth, and it fits like 50,000 players on a server (the average MMO is like 3000-5000 I believe), but drops everyone randomly somewhere on the planet, like you've crashed in your spaceship somewhere on an alien planet. The chances of running into another person without actively pursuing such would be very slim.

There wouldn't be less players on a server. Finding or avoiding other players would be part of the appeal. Imagine it like Rust of Minecraft. You start out having nothing, and your goal is to hold dominion over your land to survive, eventually to thrive enough to venture out and explore the vastness of the game. Maybe you want to meet other players to achieve things together a single player alone cannot do. Or maybe you want to prey on others? Sneak into a player settlement in the dead of night and steal the helicopter you could never build alone?

I think an extreme decrease of player density and an unshackling of the player in terms of what is allowed would create a much more socially engaging and interesting game, that's really about player interaction, rather than just what the social element in most MMOs has devolved into. Chatrooms.

At that point you're just making DayZ or Rust with a higher playercount.

#28 Edited by Yummylee (21547 posts) -
#29 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@ajamafalous said:

@seppli said:

@fredchuckdave: @49th: @demoskinos: @ajamafalous:

I'm not talking about decreasing player density by decreasing playercount. I'm talking of achieving it by changing the ratio of landmass versus playercount, and how players are deployed into the game. Imagine if a developer creates a landmass akin to planet Earth, and it fits like 50,000 players on a server (the average MMO is like 3000-5000 I believe), but drops everyone randomly somewhere on the planet, like you've crashed in your spaceship somewhere on an alien planet. The chances of running into another person without actively pursuing such would be very slim.

There wouldn't be less players on a server. Finding or avoiding other players would be part of the appeal. Imagine it like Rust of Minecraft. You start out having nothing, and your goal is to hold dominion over your land to survive, eventually to thrive enough to venture out and explore the vastness of the game. Maybe you want to meet other players to achieve things together a single player alone cannot do. Or maybe you want to prey on others? Sneak into a player settlement in the dead of night and steal the helicopter you could never build alone?

I think an extreme decrease of player density and an unshackling of the player in terms of what is allowed would create a much more socially engaging and interesting game, that's really about player interaction, rather than just what the social element in most MMOs has devolved into. Chatrooms.

At that point you're just making DayZ or Rust with a higher playercount.

It really depends. I'd like to see gameworlds big enough to house *unshackled AI* factions, that act autonomously, kinda like a RTS AI. Imagine a MMO where Horde and Alliance expand their reach autonomously, build new settlements, attack each other, and so forth. Procedural perpetual conflict. Same goes for like animals and whatnot. Big roaming herds of Buffalo. Ant-colonies. It really comes down to how good your procedural generation is. How alive and autonomous the gameworld is before the player arrives.

I think the goal for a perpetually generated gameworld is to be alive, even without players interacting with it. If it's a place interesting enough to just watch doing its own thing, then it's going to be a place anyone would want to interact with. DayZ and Rush thrive on anarchy first and foremost. While I definitely think that kind of freedom is an ingredient of the MMO of the future, I think the most engaging part of playing games is interacting with the fabrication of the gameworld, rather than with other people. Engaging a gameworld with others by choice, to do things that can't be done by oneself. That's the incentive to group.

I suggest for developers to procedurally create gameworld so vast, player interaction becomes a choice, and not a matter of fact of design - even with playercounts way higher than we've got now.

#30 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@yummylee said:

Anyone that's after an MMORPG without the MMO part should play Kingdoms of Amalur.

I'm not advocating such. But does an MMO have to spawn all its players at the same location? Have everyone do the same things, at the same time, at the same place? What I'm suggesting is a gameworld so vast, every player gets dropped somewhere out there, all alone - but there are tens of thousands of players out there to find and meet and interact with.

Finding people seems like a very MMO thing to do.

#31 Posted by Yummylee (21547 posts) -

@seppli: Oh yeah, I know what you're getting at and it does seem interesting. It basically sounds like a much larger scale Journey, in terms of the online interactions. I was more so posting for the handful of people in here clamouring for an MMORPG without any online interaction.

#32 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@yummylee said:

@seppli: Oh yeah, I know what you're getting at and it does seem interesting. It basically sounds like a much larger scale Journey, in terms of the online interactions. I was more so posting for the handful of people in here clamouring for an MMORPG without any online interaction.

That's hitting the nail pretty much on the head. Journey is an excellent example of what kind of interaction such a fabrication should elicit - at least in my imagination.

Human interaction begins with an act of discovery.

#33 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Hell, within such a vast gameworld, there would probably even be room enough for the player to *build and own his own NPC AI faction*. Like hire NPC workers to do your bidding. AI Hunters, Forsters, Fishers, Miners. Later whole expeditionary groups. Raise armies.

#34 Posted by Karkarov (3079 posts) -

You need player interaction in an mmo, but you don't need interaction with 100 people at a time. So yes doing things to thin out the herd would help. You need look no further than the current ESO beta to see why having everyone on one small map is bad. It makes things laggy and if you need to get specific kills, farm resources, or what have you it can just be a pain dealing with 50 other players all going for exactly the same thing.

#35 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@seppli: It doesn't matter if you have an extremely large landmass with 15 people or 5000 people or 50000 people (or 1 person for that matter). MMOs have definitely lost the exploration aspect, but that's because of every game cloning WoW; if the genre was more varied and diverse than that you'd have all sorts of interesting experiences. Neverwinter seems to be alright on that front if you just want to explore a world and ignore the players; the user generated content is pretty good to boot.

#36 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3804 posts) -

@kidavenger said:

What is the point of it being a mmo then? Sounds like you just want a big open world rpg like Skyrim.

I agree. But the thing being missed is that there are games getting at what MMOs do from the other side. I'm thinking what Diablo was doing, Neverwinter Nights, Borderlands, and I think Destiny looks like the next step. Single players with multiplayer that start feeling and playing bigger and bigger with the scale.

My issue with MMOs is I always have to accept what I see as inferior gameplay. I like that games with what I find to be better gameplay are becoming more MMO-like though because I do love the persistence and social aspects.

#37 Edited by noizy (662 posts) -

@seppli: It's an interesting idea, which obviously has some implementation challenges.

The idea of a huge world that everyone is playing in sounds kinda cool; one big world for everyone. The idea that people don't step on each other's toes sounds cool too. So we're talking massive. Obviously something this big can't be carefully crafted, so procedurally generated as you rightfully suggested. You want to build your own empire. So it would be like a persistent kind of Minecraft crossed with a god game, except you're in the game world.

The other thing I was thinking was that if you want to be able to occasionally meet people, you'd need to be able to travel. Would you want to be able to travel slow or fast? If you can travel fast, then you're basically breaking your condition of wanting people not to meet each other too often. So slow it is. So you'll be for the most part needing to build your empire in the area near your spawn. Might as well spawn people on different planets, smallish in size where maybe a dozen players can play, spread out far enough not to meet each other until they develop their empire a bit and gain some travel technology, and when you want to go adventure, you need to go to space and visit your nearest planets. If it's a god game where you need to recruit NPCs to progress, that would be kinda cool. How can you prevent more developed players to grief starting players would be the challenge; unless PvP is forbidden. At that point, what's the purpose of building an empire.

Personally I find MMO quests rather boring, so if that stuff is procedurally generate it's going to be even more generic. Might as well forget about "quests", and go full on sandbox.

So, maybe No Man Sky or even Star Citizen might scratch that itch when they come out, since we know so little about it, we can only hope.

I agree with people's sentiment that "dude, MMOs are about player interaction". I'm not a big fan of MMOs because their game mechanics are weaker than single player games, and I like game mechanics and good map design. The fun that I had with MMOs was doing dungeons/raids with friends.

If I wanted to "fix MMORPGs", I'd say scrap the over world and just design a game that's all end game content. Build a city lobby, or maybe give guilds some instanced slice of land where they can build a castle, some player housing or something, somewhere to congregate when not raiding, and focus all your design energy on building dungeon and raid content. Heck, maybe even make their buildable slice of land something they need to develop based on resources they gather as a guild. If you recruit more members, the buildable area increases slightly, just enough to have your members have a tiny house. So if you want your members more space, you'd need to invest resources in your land space. Maybe just put some procedurally generated wild life around the plot of land to go hunt. The deeper you go, the harder the monsters become, just to give people who like to grind something to do; like a kind of ad hoc hoard mode. But the real focus of the game are the "end game" dungeons and raids. Right? Cause that's what MMO players like. End game content!

#38 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@seppli: Here is the thing though that congestion only really happens in city areas. Once you start venturing further into the game the density is much more sparse. And I think that makes entire sense to me. I watched that No Man's Sky trailer and while I hope that studio achieves its vision personally that trailer did nothing for me. That level of sparseness is opposite to what I want.

#39 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@noizy:

Isn't one of the main reasons that *normal* MMORPGs have *canned* gameplay, rather than simulation-driven gameplay, that it's really hard to properly synchronize everything the more people are around? Battlefield does it with 64 players with fairly high fidelity simulations, I've seen it done with up to 250 players in Joint Operations.

I guess if by design players aren't meant to congregate, higher fidelity interactions would be much more feasible. I mean will thousands of players ever congregate in a game that doesn't forcibly funnel people into the same spaces? Where players might be hours of real time of travel apart? Where two friends would first have to build technology in-game to communicate with each other, find a way to locate each others position, thrive enough to build a suitable vehicle for the travel, and then undertake the travel to team up? Under normal circumstances, I think not. So why not have proper Bow&Arrow physics, gun ballistics, proper vehicle physics with bikes, cars, helicopters, planes? All the stuff that makes non-MMO-games so much more enjoyable on a *executing* kind of level?

P.S. I don't know what it is I'm dreaming of. It's just a fever dream of *What-Ifs* sprung from the idea of a massively multiplayer online game that has so much more landmass than players, that meeting another player is like meeting a unicorn or Sasquatch. What would or could such a game be about? It certainly spawns more exciting ideas to me, than just retreading the same old, tried, and boring path of the Themepark-MMO, only with a new coat of paint.

#40 Posted by noizy (662 posts) -

@seppli: Yea. I don't know. There's technical limitations and then there's design limitations. The great thing about a single player game in my view is the map design. The designers know where the playing is coming from, and where its going. They can place the enemies in a way that is challenging and interesting for that specific controlled experience, and have a degree if persistence (non-respawning enemies). MMORPG map design has to account for multiple people with re-spawns and tethering. It just makes the whole thing entirely different. I think that kills it way more for me than the limited fidelity of the engine.