This post continues the discussion I began in “Chillin’ at the OK Corral;” In that post I re-evaluated both Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic based on their pre-launch claims concerning the revolutionary transformation they were about to unleash upon a helpless planet earth. Since their release, the Massively Multiplayer Game environment has seen some interesting changes over the last year or so. What might these changes indicate about the fate of existing MMORPGs and ones still in development?
Posts Tagged ‘MMORPG’
Tags: Bioware, Electronic Arts, Guild, Massively multiplayer online game, MMORPG, star wars, Star Wars: The Old Republic, SWTOR
I’ve been encouraged lately by the thought that even though the world of game design has, on the whole, proven stubbornly resistant to learning from its mistake (mainly due to a collective memory that makes an ADHD ant appear to be a fount of oracular wisdom) some improvement is nevertheless possible. I’ve been quite impressed with the Bioware’s preparations to try and ensure that the launch of the massively hyped Star Wars: The Old Republic will not be an unmitigated disaster.
Tags: game design, game development, Lucasarts, MMORPG, Sony, Star Wars: Galaxies
Reflections Occasioned by a Five-Year Anniversary
My very first experience with MMORPGs probably ruined me for life when it comes to appreciating other online games. I played around a bit with MOOs and MUDs but wasn’t really into the idea of online gaming during the Ultima Online and Everquest period. I did play what was then called World War II Online (now called Battleground Europe, and still going despite being the most punishingly unrewarding (which, according to the masochistic logic of most gamers, doesn’t mean it wasn’t/isn’t fun!) game I have ever played. EVE is a game of checkers by comparison). My first experience of a large scale MMORPG was therefore Star Wars Galaxies.
It was 5 years ago, in November of 2005, that Sony Online Entertainment scrapped the first version of SWG and implemented the New Game Enhancements (NGE). I stuck it out for a few more months, and then joined the horde of rats scurrying down the anchor chain.
When I started playing SWG I was utterly and completely hooked, sold on the idea of virtual worlds from the moment the tutorial (an embarrassingly primitive affair which featured the now infamous “dancing Imperial Officer”) dumped me outside the spaceport in Coronet on Corellia. I hadn’t even got my bearings when there was a peal of thunder and it began to rain. That is exactly how long it took me to part with my immortal soul.
Naively, I assumed that SWG was like every other MMORPG out there in its basic mechanics. It wasn’t. Now is neither the time nor the place to rehearse the reasons for the game’s self-mutilation that left it little more than a WoW wannabe. . . Oh hell, who am I kidding, any time is the perfect time to discuss such idiocy. In retrospect, after playing several other MMOs of various kinds, I’ve come to realize that the reason SWG made such an impression on me is not simply because it popped my MMORPG cherry, but because it was trying to be a kind of game that is still strikingly rare in the MMORPG marketplace: an adult game.
What follows is part reflection, part elegy, part rant, all in memoriam for one of the most promising MMORPGs never to last the distance. But my purpose is a serious one. SWG‘s failure raises numerous issues, but the central one is an issue that still plagues the MMORPG industry: the unwillingness of developers to stop pandering to those players who want childish games.
Tags: Apple, Arenanet, Eve Online, games, Guild Wars 2, ipad, iPhone, Jesper Juul, MMORPG, NCSoft, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Video game
When the iPad was announced earlier this year I wrote a blog entry that was generally sceptical of the device’s overall potential to revolutionize anything; nevertheless, I was still interested in its possibilities as a gaming platform. At the time, I wrote this:
Apple will in all likelihood need some breakthrough application that really takes advantage of the size and scale of the device (since no significant new functionality was demonstrated) to allow people to do something that they couldn’t do before. Alternatively, it will need to allow people to do something they could do before but much more efficiently. Note: much more efficiently. I have a hard time seeing how anyone will part with the amount of money needed to get the version with reasonable storage and connectivity if it only does some things a little better than is possible at the moment.
This breakout app that helps to redefine the iPad hasn’t happened yet as far as I’m aware. No one who has showed me their iPad has yet done the “but what you really need to see is this” move that made me jealous of any number of people with iPods and then iPhones. Of course, I did underestimate basic human nature. In fact, lots of people will part with a lot of money to get something that only does things a little better than other devices (and in some cases a lot worse: seriously, have you used the “keyboard” on this thing? Better yet, watch a proud iPad owner using it: they grin with that kind of “No, this may look painful but I’m really having a lot of fun” look that is vaguely reminiscent of the way elephants look when trying to have sex). . .simply so they can have what most other people don’t have. . .yet. There is a word for these people. Posers.