Meaningful Multiplayer Online

  

So I was reading Penny Arcade today

 The blog, not just the webcomic -___-  

 and there was in interesting paragraph at the bottom.

 " I think I've been completely rewired (that is to say, ruined) by Massively Multiplayer games. I want to convert my time   into  something lasting: enhanced capabilities, more options. When I'm done, I want to have more than I started with - more of  something" 

Yes. 
 
I'm currently playing APB (review here), Eve Online and, as soon as I can afford the subscription, Aion Online (Curse you, Steam sales!!). In the past I have played Champions Online and, of course, World Of Warcraft. I may also have dabbled in Runescape as a youth, though I now see the error of my ways. 
 
 All too familiar...

When playing an ordinary adventure/action game there is progression, usually a loose narrative that is simply an excuse to show off the capabilities of whatever engine the dev team is currently working with. The progression lies in beginning somewhere and working towards something specific - ie the final boss, the end of the adventure, the princess. I always wanted more. I wanted to be able to explore, to branch out new adventures instead of simply implying they exist from the bulky trunk of the game. Most importantly I wanted to share these experiences with other people. Multiplayer gaming is perhaps the most engaging and fantastic reason why I love videogames. Not only can a player react in ways that the AI can barely comprehend, they can adapt and experiment, pushing the boundaries and learning from their mistakes. They complicate your experiences in the best possible way. But perhaps the best thing about playing videogames online is the understanding of a shared experience, being able to turn around to Luigi after the princess has been rescued and saying "Fuck, that was awesome!".  
 
And then proceeding to have a threesome. 
 
 There's lots of creepy luigi fan art on giantbomb for some reason :S

Though of course the lads at penny arcade are also correct.

 MMO's have always appealed to me because they have a consistent substance. My persona is a constant variable who will directly affect the experiences of other players and though my impact on the world may not be lasting, the virtual world will continue to turn. For me an MMO is an assurance of adventures amongst a multitude of like-minded enthusiasts. The events in which I partake should imply progression and make it meaningful in relation to the population. It's about seeing what the best players are capable of and wanting it for yourself - and then taking it one step further. MMOs are all about ambition
 
So having said that... I should probably stop playing Eve Online before it kills me, huh? 
 
Thanks For Reading 
Love Sweep
27 Comments
28 Comments
Posted by Sweep

  

So I was reading Penny Arcade today

 The blog, not just the webcomic -___-  

 and there was in interesting paragraph at the bottom.

 " I think I've been completely rewired (that is to say, ruined) by Massively Multiplayer games. I want to convert my time   into  something lasting: enhanced capabilities, more options. When I'm done, I want to have more than I started with - more of  something" 

Yes. 
 
I'm currently playing APB (review here), Eve Online and, as soon as I can afford the subscription, Aion Online (Curse you, Steam sales!!). In the past I have played Champions Online and, of course, World Of Warcraft. I may also have dabbled in Runescape as a youth, though I now see the error of my ways. 
 
 All too familiar...

When playing an ordinary adventure/action game there is progression, usually a loose narrative that is simply an excuse to show off the capabilities of whatever engine the dev team is currently working with. The progression lies in beginning somewhere and working towards something specific - ie the final boss, the end of the adventure, the princess. I always wanted more. I wanted to be able to explore, to branch out new adventures instead of simply implying they exist from the bulky trunk of the game. Most importantly I wanted to share these experiences with other people. Multiplayer gaming is perhaps the most engaging and fantastic reason why I love videogames. Not only can a player react in ways that the AI can barely comprehend, they can adapt and experiment, pushing the boundaries and learning from their mistakes. They complicate your experiences in the best possible way. But perhaps the best thing about playing videogames online is the understanding of a shared experience, being able to turn around to Luigi after the princess has been rescued and saying "Fuck, that was awesome!".  
 
And then proceeding to have a threesome. 
 
 There's lots of creepy luigi fan art on giantbomb for some reason :S

Though of course the lads at penny arcade are also correct.

 MMO's have always appealed to me because they have a consistent substance. My persona is a constant variable who will directly affect the experiences of other players and though my impact on the world may not be lasting, the virtual world will continue to turn. For me an MMO is an assurance of adventures amongst a multitude of like-minded enthusiasts. The events in which I partake should imply progression and make it meaningful in relation to the population. It's about seeing what the best players are capable of and wanting it for yourself - and then taking it one step further. MMOs are all about ambition
 
So having said that... I should probably stop playing Eve Online before it kills me, huh? 
 
Thanks For Reading 
Love Sweep
Moderator
Posted by Hamz

The fact that when I get up for a wee at 3am and find you're still playing EVE blows my mind!
 
Although to be honest I'm done with MMOs for now. After recent ones have been an utter disappointment I'm pretty sure it's time to admit defeat and realise I'll never truly be the kind of guy who can devote years to an MMO like some folks can. Maybe DC Universe Online will change all that? I hope so.
 
But what needs to change in an MMO is how that online interactivity changes. The fact games like Fable among others let you have a family yet MMOs don't is somewhat mind boggling. For all intents and purposes the MMO genre is the ideal place to begin charging people a monthly fee so they can maintain and interact with their virtual wives/husbands and children.
 
I mean they clearly aren't doing it with their real ones if they're playing an MMO now are they?

Posted by Chyro

Maybe the reason you enjoy MMOs is because you can do whatever you want?  Granted most MMOs nowadays are fairly linear in which direction they want you to go in.  Mainly  having each zone or tier have slightly higher mobs or quests.  But that is why I also enjoy EVE Online.  You can do anything you want.  Anything.  You want to pirate miners in 0.0 and steal their stuff.  You can do that.  You want to do missions while slowly building your skills and learning how to rat.  Can do that too.   You want to partake in espionage and roleplay, it is certainly available.
 
I find I enjoy most games that you can do anything you want.  Without the game hamstringing you into a selected amount of content.  The thing is, it is hard for me to play regular MMOs now.  Each one is basically the same thing, and I hold no amount of hope at all for ToR.  Story driven?  I'll believe it when I see it.   
 
There are very few actual games where you choices effect outcomes.  And even if it does, it is probably not a true sandbox game.  My favorite types of games are usually among these.  Mount and Blade and EVE Online are great examples of this.  As you make your own way, and things you do always effect those around you.  EVE Online for instance.  The way their market works, even if you are only doing kill quests.  When you sell your items and drops.  It effects the prices at that station usually. 

Posted by Sweep
@Hamz said:
" The fact that when I get up for a wee at 3am and find you're still playing EVE blows my mind!  Although to be honest I'm done with MMOs for now. After recent ones have been an utter disappointment I'm pretty sure it's time to admit defeat and realise I'll never truly be the kind of guy who can devote years to an MMO like some folks can. Maybe DC Universe Online will change all that? I hope so.  But what needs to change in an MMO is how that online interactivity changes. The fact games like Fable among others let you have a family yet MMOs don't is somewhat mind boggling. For all intents and purposes the MMO genre is the ideal place to begin charging people a monthly fee so they can maintain and interact with their virtual wives/husbands and children.  I mean they clearly aren't doing it with their real ones if they're playing an MMO now are they? "
I don't know if it actually qualifies as "playing" but i'm certainly "Updating my skill training timetable". 
 
Or maybe that's the same thing? 
 
Goddamit I really need to quit this game ><
Moderator
Posted by SilentCommando

I enjoy MMOS quite a great deal, though I've never played one for more than  a year. The ones that have come out recently also don't really appeal to me, looking forward to Guild Wars 2.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

One of the things I loved about Lord of the Rings Online was that I felt like something new was always right around the corner.  That's exactly the feeling I want when I play any game, and it's probably the best example that comes to mind.  However, I'd hate getting bogged down in one area for what felt like a dozen hours (and was probably around that, truth be told).  It's not so much the grind as it is that I wish there were many, many more sub-areas to grind in, if that makes any sense at all.

Moderator
Posted by MattyFTM

I've never been able to keep with an MMO. With every MMO I've played I do the same thing. I'll play it religiously for anything between a a few days and a few weeks, but I soon stop playing and cancel my subscription (assuming it's a pay to play MMO I'm playing). I thoroughly enjoy them while I'm playing them, and I play them a lot, but I guess I'm just not the kinda guy that gets addicted to MMOs for long periods of time.

Moderator
Posted by Lies

CURIOUS.
 
I have a diametrically oppostie viewpoint which I was thinking about blogging on. Now I have to.

Posted by gike987
@Sweep:  The reason I quit EVE was because it started to take over my life. That game is dangerously addictive. The problem is that the Steam sale made me want to start playing it again. That's arguably worse than tall the games it fooled me to buy.
Posted by Dalai

I could've been persuaded to buy APB if it lived up to the promise and more, but sadly it looks like it's got some issues from what I've seen. 
 
I have yet to find an MMO that I could get behind. I've seen WoW turn people into zombies and the rest just don't appeal to my style. If Rockstar decided to make an MMO based on the Grand Theft Auto franchise and was great, that could win me over. Otherwise, meh to MMOs.

Posted by Damien

What's wrong with Runescape?  I'm sure tons of people cut their MMO teeth on it, especially the younger set since a lot of it is free.  I used to kinda play it and I'm not even into MMOs.

Posted by Bucketdeth

I really don't recommend Aion online, it may look like a all new awesome mmo but it's just the same old Korean grind fest with a new coat of paint.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

All my hope is on Bioware with Star Wars The Old Republic actually.
 
MMO (pvp, pve, crafting, guilds, own base/home/ship) plus an epic storyline?
Yes please!

Edited by JoelTGM

I really enjoyed WoW, but after I reached max level I got bored and stopped playing (I'm not complaining though, it lasted me for a couple years).  No MMO since then has been as good, and I don't think it's worth it to try out every new MMO that comes out; they always fail.  If you want to make an MMO in this day and age, you will have to put in an enormous amount of money, and shouldn't expect to make it back for a long time.  The game has to top WoW from the start, or else it won't hold peoples interest.  The next MMO I try will probably be from Blizzard because I don't think anyone else has the money and experience to do it.

Posted by TheMustacheHero
@Fragstoff: I don't get it.
Posted by Skytylz

Runescape isn't that bad.  It's just a different kind of MMO

Posted by DarkGamerOO7
@Fragstoff said:
"
"
Did you ever notice how his cigar is inside his helmet, yet the smoke from the cigar is outside the helmet?
Posted by emkeighcameron

Sweep, nice blog, as always, but do NOT WASTE TIME OR MONEY on Aion. You've been warned.

Posted by Claude

MMOs what a joke, I would rather spend my spare time trolling Giant Bomb.

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor
@DOUBLESHOCK said:
" I really enjoyed WoW, but after I reached max level I got bored and stopped playing (I'm not complaining though, it lasted me for a couple years).  No MMO since then has been as good, and I don't think it's worth it to try out every new MMO that comes out; they always fail.  If you want to make an MMO in this day and age, you will have to put in an enormous amount of money, and shouldn't expect to make it back for a long time.  The game has to top WoW from the start, or else it won't hold peoples interest.  The next MMO I try will probably be from Blizzard because I don't think anyone else has the money and experience to do it. "
You'd be wrong.  I think EVE is just as complex as WoW. In fact, I think EVE & WoW are the most complex MMOs to date & everything
else feels unimaginative & repetitive.
Posted by EVO

The thing about MMO's is when you play them, that's all you play. I'm only guessing, since I've never touched one myself, but I think that's pretty accurate. With that being said, I dunno why anyone would devote their time to grinding in some MMO when they could be playing other games.

Posted by griefersstolemykeyboard

thing about mmos are that they always ship completely broken, this is true for every mmo (even wow) so expecting consumers to stick with this game paying a monthly fee till they fix it instead of going with a supreme product (wow) is outrageous tbh.

Posted by JoelTGM
@Lind_L_Taylor said:
" @DOUBLESHOCK said:
" I really enjoyed WoW, but after I reached max level I got bored and stopped playing (I'm not complaining though, it lasted me for a couple years).  No MMO since then has been as good, and I don't think it's worth it to try out every new MMO that comes out; they always fail.  If you want to make an MMO in this day and age, you will have to put in an enormous amount of money, and shouldn't expect to make it back for a long time.  The game has to top WoW from the start, or else it won't hold peoples interest.  The next MMO I try will probably be from Blizzard because I don't think anyone else has the money and experience to do it. "
You'd be wrong.  I think EVE is just as complex as WoW. In fact, I think EVE & WoW are the most complex MMOs to date & everything else feels unimaginative & repetitive. "
Well I did say no other MMO since WoW has been as good.  Eve Online is older than WoW.  I also think WoW is still the MMO to beat because of how easy to get into it is.  EVE Online may be excellent at what it does, but it's not for everyone. 
Posted by damswedon
@Claude said:
" MMOs what a joke, I would rather spend my spare time trolling Giant Bomb. "

I think the problem I have always had with MMOs is that I just don't like being forced to work with other people, I always feel like a liability and that it is my fault. What I want from an MMO is the ability to play the whole game without ever having to play with another person if I don't want to.
Posted by Jams
@damswedon said:
" @Claude said:
" MMOs what a joke, I would rather spend my spare time trolling Giant Bomb. "

I think the problem I have always had with MMOs is that I just don't like being forced to work with other people, I always feel like a liability and that it is my fault. What I want from an MMO is the ability to play the whole game without ever having to play with another person if I don't want to. "
which is funny, because that is the whole point of MMO's. It's like saying you want to be on a basketball team and be the only player. Sure you could do that, but you might as well call it shooting hoops.
Posted by damswedon
@jams: and that is the reason why I don't play MMOs any more
Posted by Lind_L_Taylor
@DOUBLESHOCK said:
" @Lind_L_Taylor said:
" @DOUBLESHOCK said:
" I really enjoyed WoW, but after I reached max level I got bored and stopped playing (I'm not complaining though, it lasted me for a couple years).  No MMO since then has been as good, and I don't think it's worth it to try out every new MMO that comes out; they always fail.  If you want to make an MMO in this day and age, you will have to put in an enormous amount of money, and shouldn't expect to make it back for a long time.  The game has to top WoW from the start, or else it won't hold peoples interest.  The next MMO I try will probably be from Blizzard because I don't think anyone else has the money and experience to do it. "
You'd be wrong.  I think EVE is just as complex as WoW. In fact, I think EVE & WoW are the most complex MMOs to date & everything else feels unimaginative & repetitive. "
Well I did say no other MMO since WoW has been as good.  Eve Online is older than WoW.  I also think WoW is still the MMO to beat because of how easy to get into it is.  EVE Online may be excellent at what it does, but it's not for everyone.  "
Yeah.  I just started EVE. Man I joined a corp of noobs thinking it would be safe. However,
we already have a 2-man corp of gankers declaring war on us, after just a few days.  Don't
know if it's a real threat but it basically means that no place in the game is safe, even for
new fuckers like me.  Pretty tough way to start the game already having to look over my
shoulder.
Posted by kelbear
@Sweep: 
 
I think I've been jaded over time. I still love games, but game progression is progression in its most ephemeral and meaningless form. Once the game stops, all progress is lost, and I know that I will be moving on from the game "soon". Perhaps a week, perhaps years, but I know that one day I'll move on and have nothing but my memories of the game.
 
This is not specific to RPGs, but to all games. However, I am not going to remember the day that my spell that made large numbers over head of an enemy, suddenly become a spell that made slightly larger numbers! I want memorable experiences, which the RPG has to deliver in other ways. I have indeed had a few of these in RPGs and MMOs, and they had nothing to do with these small meaningless upgrades. 
 
Upgrades are nice near-term motivators, and I heartily encourage developers to make sure they implement a steady sense of progression in their games. However, these things are the dressings, and the meat of the game lies beneath.