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Can MMORPG's really evolve further?


MrSpoon
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Think about the structure of any MMORPG on the market at the moment, regardless of its setting. They are the same. You are either a fighter, a wizard/hacker, or some type of merchant. It seems as though the tenets of the genre have come from text-based adventures and Golden Axe! I know people spend tons of hours online a week to have the best stats but can this truly be considered emotive? I think that people actually form no substantive connection with their characters, rather they get stuck into the cycle of levelling-up.

The reason I got to thinking about this is that I'd love to see a Star Trek MMORPG. It could be the best thing ever. Start out at Starfleet academy as a young 'un, do the classes, get a posting on a ship, work your way up to a command after aeons (obviously NPCs would have to be officers to start with). You could perform the roles that need to be done on ship (engineer, doctor, chef) in synchronicity with hundreds of other players on your ship. Awesome and immersive. Your failure to clean a conduit results in power failure during battle, the rest of the ship in darkness. Shields down. You are dead.

Don't want to do that? Be a merchant on Earth, be a Klingon warrior, borg drone, member of species 8472, anywhere in the simulated galaxy. Military ships all over, privately owned ships if you get rich enough. Landing on new planets, getting new tech. Breathtaking.

But it's never going to happen. Aside from the contract wranglings that are affecting Activision and Viacom since 'elite force 2' I don't think our hardware is up to it, and the programmers certainly aren't (through no fault of their own). The reason we are stuck in the Final Fantasy mould is because we can't actually programme something that can react to so many variables across such a massive landscape (me pressing a button in the corner of the galaxy, while other people do the same). It's very frustrating but computing power at the moment doesn't seem to be good enough to give us a realistic, emotionally immersive online world.

If something along the lines that I have detailed above could be achieved I'd get new hardware, broadband, the whole nine yards. I'm sure that applies for other people for other genres too. Basically, I'm waiting.

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It really sounds like you're describing Star Wars Galaxies, except in Star Trek.

Does Galaxies have that scope though? As I understand it you are limited to a few sytems at the moment and can't actually stop on the journey and explore. Plus you are still tied to stats which I think should be scrapped.

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At the moment you can't do anything in space. Transport takes you from planet to planet instantly, and you explore the planets.

The Space Expansion (which will allow free flight) will be released later this year.

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At the moment you can't do anything in space. Transport takes you from planet to planet instantly, and you explore the planets.

The Space Expansion (which will allow free flight) will be released later this year.

From what I have seen and played of SWG I think its very much the standard MMORPG with star wars tacked onto it, nothing like the game MrSpoon is describing, the problem with his game is that people all need to work in unison, it just wouldn't be fun. People like to be the hero, being Enson 12566 cleaning the jeffersons tubes or whatever isn't.

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I don't think the lack of the type of game you mention is so much to do with computing power but the interface between you and it. Oh, look I'm a chef, I need to press X to cook the dinner. A real chef in a real world has to manage / learn thousands of skills, and can be happily engrossed in being a chef for many years. With the joypad interface you wouldn't want to be a chef for several years before you worked up to being something else.

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Think about the structure of any MMORPG on the market at the moment, regardless of its setting. They are the same. You are either a fighter, a wizard/hacker, or some type of merchant. It seems as though the tenets of the genre have come from text-based adventures and Golden Axe! I know people spend tons of hours online a week to have the best stats but can this truly be considered emotive? I think that people actually form no substantive connection with their characters, rather they get stuck into the cycle of levelling-up.

The reason I got to thinking about this is that I'd love to see a Star Trek MMORPG. It could be the best thing ever. Start out at Starfleet academy as a young 'un, do the classes, get a posting on a ship, work your way up to a command after aeons (obviously NPCs would have to be officers to start with). You could perform the roles that need to be done on ship (engineer, doctor, chef) in synchronicity with hundreds of other players on your ship. Awesome and immersive. Your failure to clean a conduit results in power failure during battle, the rest of the ship in darkness. Shields down. You are dead.

Don't want to do that? Be a merchant on Earth, be a Klingon warrior, borg drone, member of species 8472, anywhere in the simulated galaxy. Military ships all over, privately owned ships if you get rich enough. Landing on new planets, getting new tech. Breathtaking.

But it's never going to happen. Aside from the contract wranglings that are affecting Activision and Viacom since 'elite force 2' I don't think our hardware is up to it, and the programmers certainly aren't (through no fault of their own). The reason we are stuck in the Final Fantasy mould is because we can't actually programme something that can react to so many variables across such a massive landscape (me pressing a button in the corner of the galaxy, while other people do the same). It's very frustrating but computing power at the moment doesn't seem to be good enough to give us a realistic, emotionally immersive online world.

If something along the lines that I have detailed above could be achieved I'd get new hardware, broadband, the whole nine yards. I'm sure that applies for other people for other genres too. Basically, I'm waiting.

The main thing missing from your dream game seems to be human interaction. Does this need to be MMO at all? With convincing NPC AI this could just as easily be a single player game. Then it presumeably is more easily codeable.

The whole MMO thing is at times just an intrusion, anyway. Lots of people chatting pointlessly and invariably out of character. Once AI software gets good enough, who needs "real" people. :rolleyes:

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the problem with his game is that people all need to work in unison, it just wouldn't be fun

But you have to do that in SWG. You can't play without other players. If you didn't deal with anyone else you'd have no clothes, armour, weapons, bikes, buildings... anything. Everything is player-based.

Will it allow combat between ships, soong?

It sure will.

I was just talking about certain points he made...

Don't want to do that? Be a merchant on Earth, be a Klingon warrior, borg drone, member of species 8472, anywhere in the simulated galaxy. Military ships all over, privately owned ships if you get rich enough. Landing on new planets, getting new tech. Breathtaking.

In SWG you can be a merchant. You can put up a shop on any planet you like, you mine for resources needed to make the items you sell or whatever. The only thing missing is the ship part, but that's on the way.

You could perform the roles that need to be done on ship (engineer, doctor, chef) in synchronicity with hundreds of other players on your ship.

All those professions are available in SWG, and more. You forgot tailor, musician, dancer, architect, etc etc... the only difference is, they're in a player city on a SW planet instead of in a ship.

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But you have to do that in SWG. You can't play without other players. If you didn't deal with anyone else you'd have no clothes, armour, weapons, bikes, buildings... anything. Everything is player-based.

It sure will.

I was just talking about certain points he made...

In SWG you can be a merchant. You can put up a shop on any planet you like, you mine for resources needed to make the items you sell or whatever. The only thing missing is the ship part, but that's on the way.

All those professions are available in SWG, and more. You forgot tailor, musician, dancer, architect, etc etc... the only difference is, they're in a player city on a SW planet instead of in a ship.

Thats not the same thing, having a player run economy and the fact that you d/c'd while you were cleaning a plasma conduit meaning the ship was destroyed and you now have 150+ pissed of geeks chasing after you, MrSpoons game is far too complex to ever be made this decade (I think) his games requires a massive team all working towards a common goal, SWg is not very advanced, sure there are lots of professions but its just a caseof hitting a button to train up whether you want to be a musician or a soldier etc

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What's so complicated about it though? There is no reason why it couldn't be done now, I just can't see it happening cos if 150+ people keep on dying and losing their character thanks to the odd bastard messing something up, they won't be playing that game for long.

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Don't know where the 'its not going to happen' came from by Mrspoon. Playing FFXI at the minute and the level of depth within it is utterly startling and you have to imagine that MMORPGs can potentially get deeper and deeper, providing enough people want to play them.

My recommendation though: Forget Star trek and play FFXI - I've only been playing 20 hours and I reckon I will have so far seen no more than 5% (probably a lot less) of the playing environment and possibilities open to me. Forget the environments, cities, real time fighting, communicating, trading, fighting in parties, different races, jobs, weapons, abilities, clothing, crafts, auctions, shops, areas for exploration, summoning, dungeons, monsters, bosses, options for travel, item collection, synthesis, NPCs, unilateral servers (Japanese and US players all on the same servers), moogles, pet monsters, airships and Chocobos - its Final Fantasy but not as you know it (Jim). Jesus, you can even set up your own black market trading systems.

It makes virtually any other game that I have played seem totally 'unreal' whilst the game itself feels completely the opposite - obviously a bad (or good) sign when a virtual world becomes almost real to you! It helps that it is quite possibly one of the most beautiful games ever made. Although stats come into it, the battle system does not appear stat heavy - its all about aquiring better weapons, skills and protection really and being careful what you try and take on.

Prior to playing FFXI, I was quite happily playing KOTOR and Call of Duty; both great games in their own right. FFXI though has taken away all of my willingness to play them (or any other game) and I am unfortunately completely hooked.

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Yeah, just think about it for a second.... You'd have the reeeeally advanced players (the ones who have played for many, many hours upon hours) at the top, being Admirals in Star Fleet or Captains of a entire ship. They give the commands, the underdogs carry out this stuff. You'd have a whole chain of command, and the only way to work your way up to the top would be to do as you're damn well told (helping to keep everything running smoothly). Entire ships would set off and battle other races (which could also be player-controlled) and you could go on away missions and stuff. All played through first-person.

Mmmm...

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Yeah, just think about it for a second.... You'd have the reeeeally advanced players (the ones who have played for many, many hours upon hours) at the top, being Admirals in Star Fleet or Captains of a entire ship. They give the commands, the underdogs carry out this stuff. You'd have a whole chain of command, and the only way to work your way up to the top would be to do as you're damn well told (helping to keep everything running smoothly). Entire ships would set off and battle other races (which could also be player-controlled) and you could go on away missions and stuff. All played through first-person.

Mmmm...

Being a pleb in a world works fine (you work your own way up) but being a pleb as part of somebody elses grand design doesn't. Blimey you'd hardly want to just perform one menial task for someone else potentially all of the time and then call it gaming.

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Yeah, being on a ship getting ordered about to do the mundane tasks hardly sounds good... and progression would have to be damn slow or everyone would be at the top in a few weeks, so you'd have to stay there doing those crappy jobs for quite some time.

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Being a pleb in a world works fine (you work your own way up) but being a pleb as part of somebody elses grand design doesn't. Blimey you'd hardly want to just perform one menial task for someone else potentially all of the time and then call it gaming.

You could do if each task was actually fun and involving instead of a case of "press enter to activate switch", etc.

Hell, maybe all these little tasks could be fleshed out mini-games. Maybe to repair a power-conduit you'd be playing a miniature version of Breakout or Asteroids or something. And of course there'd always be the drive to do better because it would mean you'd eventually get to sit in the captain's chair and be part of epic battles, directing them yourself (under the command of Star Fleet, naturally).

Actually, I think it would be excellent!

And you could relax when you're off-duty by taking a visit to the holodeck.

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So what happens when you go away for a weekend? Return and you've killed everyone?! :rolleyes:

Perhaps when you're not signed in, another equal rank officer can take your place.

That said, though, imagine the devistation that could happen with connection time-outs and things.

"Captain to Engineering, we need warp speed now!"

"...."

"Engineering, respond!"

"...."

"Hello??"

"Errr... the engineer disappeared sir."

"Ooooh.... shit!!!"

*KABLAMMO!!!*

fin.

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I know people spend tons of hours online a week to have the best stats but can this truly be considered emotive?

I thought the most emotive part of playing MMORPG was the interaction with other gamers. Playing with a chap on FFXI in my first month who lived around the corner from my brother in Tokyo was an interesting experience. Whilst organising a party to achieve a common goal we chatted away about his experiences of English teaching (my brother did that at the time) from foreigners. So what I have taken from the game is a something unique, and to be honest it could be said to be as emotive as any game.

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coudl I add also, that the economics of FFXI are not emotive in the least but they are intellectually stimulating (identifiably) and perhaps people are looking for that from all games (strategy need not emote anything) in this mould.

my only exp of these games is FFXI

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I agree with Xiphoid, the emotive aspect of online games and particularly MMORPG'S comes from the shared experience with other players rather than a wealth of options and tasks. The beauty and secret of a good online game is facilitating that shared experience and making it enjoyable.

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I agree with Xiphoid, the emotive aspect of online games and particularly MMORPG'S comes from the shared experience with other players rather than a wealth of options and tasks. The beauty and secret of a good online game is facilitating that shared experience and making it enjoyable.

Yeah, I'd agree with that. Of course a lot of it comes from who you talk to but I mean that you don't necessarily have much love for your avatar (they don't always have much of a personality). If they had a more clearly definied goal (i.e. working up the chain of command) you might feel more attached to them.

Sprite Machine seems to have really grasped the types of interaction I was talking about. I think it could be really special.

Soong: The reason I don't think it could happen now is because 150 people would constitute one ships crew in the fleet. It would need at least fifty ships in each fleet to feel 'realistic'. Obviously, AI characters would need to be in place to begin with and then replaced when 'people' sign up. As for when you sign out you would probably have a similarly ranked AI to take over.

I don't think haveing boring tasks to do is a problem. When you consider the demographic I think most people would like it. Youdon't have to join starfleet either. You could be a wheeler dealer like Quark and work for yourself or anything.

I don't think this type of thinking needs to be linked to sci-fi either, similar ideas would work nicely in 'Dungeon Master' or whatever too.

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...I mean that you don't necessarily have much love for your avatar (they don't always have much of a personality). If they had a more clearly definied goal (i.e. working up the chain of command) you might feel more attached to them.

If you have seen the Tarutaru avatar from FFXI you would ask the question how could anyone NOT feel attached to their character, they ooze personality.

I think in general you are not identifying a general problem with MMORPG's, just a personal desire for a different type, IMO unworkable, it's difficult enough in FFXI to get an alliance together (18 players), nevermind the number you envision for your concept. I don't see a 'fun' element to it, and in all honestly I can see an unpleasant social hierarchy evolving which is even greater than the high level Vs nOOb dynamic which exists in other games. I mean to get into the game you have to take orders from people for basically the entirity of the game, which isn't what I want.

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If they had a more clearly definied goal (i.e. working up the chain of command) you might feel more attached to them.

the idea of nations is highly developed in FFXI, though such character development as medals is not so clearly defined. I am currently Rank 3 in my nation. I have a direct effect on my nations standing in the world – the status affects various in game options. You can make of it what you will… you could take it all the way and never form a party with other nation players. The ranking is also directly related to your nations story, which developes and unfolds with your rank increase – I hope to become a diplomat for my nation soon.
I don't see a 'fun' element to it, and in all honestly I can see an unpleasant social hierarchy evolving which is even greater than the high level Vs nOOb dynamic which exists in other games
I have heard similar ideas put by friends of mine who play many MMO games, and I have to agree with hub2 on howe they would develop. If you want a military structure - join a clan. Sturmgrenadiers are a big crew and they play many games and have there own hierachical structure.
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it's difficult enough in FFXI to get an alliance together (18 players), nevermind the number you envision for your concept.

You wouldn't need to get people together yourself though. They'd already be there on a certain ship, and you simply join the ranks. They start there when they log on, and so do you. Everyone is already grouped together automatically.

I mean to get into the game you have to take orders from people for basically the entirety of the game, which isn't what I want.

Isn't that pretty much how all games (on or offline) work anyway? It's simply completing objectives - just that these objectives are given to you by someone else rather than by the game's script.

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