View Poll Results: What's your opinion?

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  • Great, I love the idea

    13 26.00%
  • Sounds good, but it's missing something

    3 6.00%
  • I'd probably give it a try, but I don't think it would work

    15 30.00%
  • Those are the aspects of MMOs that I hate

    19 38.00%
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  1. #1

    Would you play a mostly instanced MMORPG?

    So, lately, I've been toying around with the idea of creating a MMORPG game with a couple of people that I know.

    Given how much resources it takes to create a full-blown RPG with an open world, I was thinking that the game could be built solely around group content. Very limited, if any at all, single player content, as it should be in a MMO (at least imo). Most of the key elements of RPGs would be present, with the emphasis on character development (in terms of skills, equipment, etc).

    That would mean
    • NO Leveling (at least not in the WoW sense).
    • NO Open world experience.
    • All of the story is told through instances.

    It would work approximately like this: One common hub, where players can meet, exchange goods, create groups, etc.. And the rest of the content is instances, like dungeons in WoW. Say there would be several group-size levels of content, your normal dungeons (most likely 4 player groups), middle sized group dungeons (7, 8 or 9 people, not sure about that yet) and raids (still looking for a sweet spot, but around 20-25 players sounds good). There would also be a looking for dungeon and looking for raid-type of mechanics, but those would get separate content, as to enforce or at least encourage premade group play and human interaction and remove the feeling of redoing instances.

    There would be content that is by no means intended to be seen by everyone (closest thing WoW had would be Sunwell in late TBC) so that it retains a sense of prestige and isn't consumed as fast by the average player.

    PvP is something that I'd be inclined to include, but again, it takes a lot of resources.

    All the above information is deliberately very vague (if I were to post all the ideas I've got in the design document, this post would be veeery long) as I'm looking for feedback about the essence of the game only.

    I really feel like if executed well, it's a solid idea. Especially with encouraging human interaction in order to progress further in the game in a meaningful way, which is something that I personally feel most todays' MMOs have forgotten how to do or even why it's a good thing.

    Please leave any feedback or simply vote in the poll, thank you.

  2. #2
    Guild Wars 1 was pretty popular.
    Still bitter.

  3. #3
    You ever play DDO? pretty much all the quests were instanced.

    But IMO? It costs less resources having an open world than having dungeon tilesets. I'd wager an overworld the size of skyrim cost Bethesda less than making all the different building interiors, cave interiors, dungeon interiors, etc.

    Having a bumpy-bloby world map with textures brushed on is minimal in terms of time and effort to create. it's the structures that take a lot more time and effort.

  4. #4
    Sounds like Neverwinter
    I am the one who knocks!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by blackblade View Post
    You ever play DDO? pretty much all the quests were instanced.

    But IMO? It costs less resources having an open world than having dungeon tilesets. I'd wager an overworld the size of skyrim cost Bethesda less than making all the different building interiors, cave interiors, dungeon interiors, etc.

    Having a bumpy-bloby world map with textures brushed on is minimal in terms of time and effort to create. it's the structures that take a lot more time and effort.
    To create an entertaining and believable world is a very tall order, you are right about the structures though, there has to be a ton of custom models in the world itself. Creating a (comparatively) small scale instance is much easier and cheaper.

  6. #6
    The Insane Kelimbror's Avatar
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    There are tons of mmos that already do this. Neverwinter, DDO, Warframe, DragonNest, Vindictus, etc. They typically feel a little bit more like an MMO/ARPG hybrid, but they are enjoyable and work fine.
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  7. #7
    Just my opinion, but that type of gameplay doesn't really appeal to me. Forcing people to interact by making it the only option available doesn't feel like something that would work in the long run.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelimbror View Post
    There are tons of mmos that already do this. Neverwinter, DDO, Warframe, DragonNest, Vindictus, etc. They typically feel a little bit more like an MMO/ARPG hybrid, but they are enjoyable and work fine.
    ^^^
    These sorts of MMOs make up the majority of my /played these days.
    I love their combat.

    Goodbye forever tab target.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by YuneKirby View Post
    Just my opinion, but that type of gameplay doesn't really appeal to me. Forcing people to interact by making it the only option available doesn't feel like something that would work in the long run.
    Given that many of these sorts of MMOs are not only surviving in the "long run" but some are, in fact, growing year after year?
    I think people are cool with it :P
    (Firefall) - All Battleframes -
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  9. #9
    That's basically how Guild Wars 1 worked before they introduced Heroes and turned it into a single player game.
    A true Klingon does not need a signature!

  10. #10
    WoW already feels like this to be honest. Character levelling feels like a vestige now that the only meaningful numbers in the game are gear stats and item levels.

    I personally think the 'open world' is an important part of WoW however.

    Even though Blizzard did a fantastic job with the levelling in this current expansion, and the outdoor storylines have been superb, everything was just over so quickly. It felt like a massive amount of content for them to build for such a short gameplay experience. The world was mostly dead one month after release.

    It's a shame because they could have focused more of the world on maximum level by populating it with large areas which players can't easily outgear and farm - essentiallly by providing outdoor world gameplay which feels similar to dungeon and raid gameplay (i.e. large areas filled with hard-hitting elite mobs and mini-bosses which actually require tanks, healers and DPS working together).

    As others have pointed out, making huge structures such as a raid takes a lot more artwork assets than building outdoor zones - even though the quality of gameplay in the outdoor world will never match a raid, the quality of gameplay in the world right now is poor because Blizzard's current attitude to outdoor world content is that it needs to be trivially soloable by just about anyone who only knows how to stand still and press 1 button. (And of course there needs to be a decent amount of content tuned around complete beginners who just picked up WoW as their first ever game; it just doesn't need to be 95% of the total content)

    I could feasibly see Blizzard moving in a different direction for the next expansion. They need to solve the problem of the legion of players who reach a point where they're fully LFR-geared and are hanging around complaining that the only things they have left to do are daily chores and solo'ing trivial content (neither of which tend to give them much reason to spend time in the massive brand new outdoor world spaces that exist).

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by blackblade View Post
    You ever play DDO? pretty much all the quests were instanced.

    But IMO? It costs less resources having an open world than having dungeon tilesets. I'd wager an overworld the size of skyrim cost Bethesda less than making all the different building interiors, cave interiors, dungeon interiors, etc.

    Having a bumpy-bloby world map with textures brushed on is minimal in terms of time and effort to create. it's the structures that take a lot more time and effort.
    Server requirements for open world zones are less than the requirements to spawn hundreds of dungeon-sized instances simultaneously. It's cheaper to shove 500 players into one open world zone than to spawn 100 instances to hold 5 players at a time.

    For me, my days of playing a group-only (from login to logoff) MMORPG died when I unsubbed from EQ1 back in July 2004. I will not do it again.

    I will do some group content - especially small group content. That said, I don't want to have to build a group for my character to just go to the outhouse and take a dump. I play MMORPGs a lot by farming materials and whatnot solo while watching Netflix/Hulu on the other monitor. A MMORPG that does not offer any of that type of play offers very little to me. I vividly remember not being able to farm for tradeskills in EQ1 without friends... not again.

    Ultimately, a game that always requires a group for everything just does not make my character feel very heroic to me. It's okay for some stuff to require groups, but not everything.
    Last edited by Raeln; 2015-03-06 at 07:51 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Raeln View Post
    Server requirements for open world zones are less than the requirements to spawn hundreds of dungeon-sized instances simultaneously. It's cheaper to shove 500 players into one open world zone than to spawn 100 instances to hold 5 players at a time.
    I would think the opposite to be honest - for a 25-man instance, you're only going to be handling "per-player" data about the other 24 players around them.

    The main increase for having a lot of small dungeon-sized instances would be the memory footprint, but the overall processing and network bandwidth would almost certainly need to be less; that's how it usually works with game servers and agent-based simulations because each player/client has fewer interactions with other clients, and each client is only interested in a much smaller amount of data (the data about "their" instance).

    The more players you have in a single space, the more data each player needs to receive generate their view of the world, which means the server needs to send more data, and the server needs to spend more time processing their interactions (Where those interactions often end up being with shared resources - e.g. WoW has "shared" mobs out in the world, which each have a 'tag' - same with mining nodes, etc.)


    Blizzard seem to cope fine with millions of players in tens of thousands of raid instances; but as soon as they launch a new zone which needs to support hundreds of players simultaneously (basically, the first day of any major content patch with an outdoor quest area/island/whatever), their servers become immensely laggy and people have trouble logging in, get disconnected, etc.
    Last edited by Bench333; 2015-03-06 at 09:54 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bench333 View Post
    I would think the opposite to be honest - the overheads per-player for a 25-man instance data about just the other 24 players around them.

    If you have 500 players in the same space at once, then you need to create and transmit data about all 500 players to every single connected client every time the server game engine 'ticks'. Smaller game zones should decrease that amount of data processing and bandwidth by several orders of magnitude.

    Blizzard seem to cope fine with millions of players in tens of thousands of raid instances; but as soon as they launch a new zone which needs to support hundreds of players simultaneously (basically, the first day of any major content patch with an outdoor quest area/island/whatever), their servers become immensely laggy and people have trouble logging in, get disconnected, etc.

    Traditionally it has been relatively easy for games which only support small numbers of players to run dozens or even hundreds of server instances on the same hardware because the data volumes are so much lower per-game. With a massive outdoor world I'd expect both the server hardware and the network bandwidth to suffer a lot more because each player is going to require significantly higher amounts of data about other players.
    It's not just about data sent to and from the server. It's about memory and cpu cycle requirements on the servers. Loading the same instance data into 100 separate instances, each with their own hundreds of NPCs, scripts, conversation dialog text and etc requires RAM. Having those same 500 players loaded into 1 open world map means you only need to load 1 copy, rather than 100 copies. While that 1 single open world map is larger than a dungeon or raid instance and requires more memory and CPU cycles to maintain, structuring a game where everything is instanced is going to require more resources overall unless the party size for each instance is larger.

    Keep in mind that this is just for 500 players. It would require 1000 seperate instances of a dungeon to serve 5000 players. That is 1000 copies of the same data, loaded into it's own committed RAM and requiring it's own dedicated amount of CPU cycles. This is one of the reasons why we have seen periods when WoW throws errors that it cannot create more instances. Their system simply has no more resources available to spawn new instances at that point in time.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Raeln View Post
    Keep in mind that this is just for 500 players. It would require 1000 seperate instances of a dungeon to serve 5000 players. That is 1000 copies of the same data, loaded into it's own committed RAM and requiring it's own dedicated amount of CPU cycles.
    That's not really how it works though.
    It's actually much easier to calculate what 5 people are doing a thousand times than what 5000 people are doing at once.
    A true Klingon does not need a signature!

  15. #15
    Sounds exactly like Guild Wars 1 to me. Well, GW had leveling, but it was over with pretty quickly. The game only really started at lvl 20 and there was still plenty of "questing" content to explore at max lvl.

    No gear progression is another awesome thing about GW 1. All gear "improvements" were purely cosmetic. In order to progress through the game you actually had to play better and master more challenging content, not just outgear things.

    Best game ever, if they just had added more raids and expanded it further I'd be playing that instead of WoW. Sadly GW2 did not quite build upon these strengths as much as I had hoped.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by gowron View Post
    That's not really how it works though.
    It's actually much easier to calculate what 5 people are doing a thousand times than what 5000 people are doing at once.
    It's not about calculating what 5 people are doing.

    It's about preparing 100 separate playgrounds for small groups of 5 rather than preparing 1 playground to hold all 500 at once.

    All the NPCs, items in the environment that can be player or script manipulated, scripts, dialog text and etc has to be individually loaded for each instance. That has a hardware cost. This is not arguable.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Raeln View Post
    It's not about calculating what 5 people are doing.

    It's about preparing 100 separate playgrounds for small groups of 5 rather than preparing 1 playground to hold all 500 at once.

    All the NPCs, items in the environment that can be player or script manipulated, scripts, dialog text and etc has to be individually loaded for each instance. That has a hardware cost. This is not arguable.
    That implies an increased memory footprint - that doesn't imply anything at all about processor usage or network bandwidth (and typically you wouldn't load "static" data such as scripts or dialog text into memory multiple times because you only need one repository. The memory increase typically comes from dynamic data which changes over time such as boss health, mechanical timers, etc). The increase in memory usage is a cost, but not a significant one because memory is extremely cheap compared to other server costs.

    On the other hand, having hundreds of clients within a shared space implies a kind of exponential growth in processor usage and bandwidth; this is a far more significant cost because the hardware resources you'll need to have 1000 players in a single instance are going to be significantly more expensive than purchasing the hardware for the same number of players spread across 50 instances. In addition, the fact that it's an exponential increase in server load means that your overall "cap" is lower on the same hardware because you would expect memory usage for additional instances to scale in a linear fashion.

    I can't comment specifically on Blizzard's game implementation, but all games and simulations follow roughly the same rules when it comes to scalability because the challenge is always the same. Megalithic simulated world environments with hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous clients within the same space is always much harder to do than hundreds of small-scale simulated environments.
    Last edited by Bench333; 2015-03-06 at 11:09 PM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Raeln View Post
    It's not about calculating what 5 people are doing.

    It's about preparing 100 separate playgrounds for small groups of 5 rather than preparing 1 playground to hold all 500 at once.
    The resource cost of those 100 tiny playgrounds is smaller than 1 big one.

    What the server actually runs are fairly simple calculations, it does not load as much data as you think it does. The biggest issue is input and output which the server has to calculate in fairly real time and that's much, much simpler when you have 5 people sending and receiving data rather than 500.
    When you have to manipulate that much data the resource cost rises exponentially so it's much cheaper to run a hundred smaller processes.

    If you don't believe me just look how many open world games are compared to instanced ones...

    P.S. I see you base your perception of the issue on WoW's "too many instances" problem, but that's specific to WoW because the game wasn't originally designed to be that instanced, so they apparently didn't code it to scale very well. It's not indicative of actual resource cost of open world vs instance.
    A true Klingon does not need a signature!

  19. #19
    DDO is the only game that competes with wow for my /played, and it is exactly like you said. It is like playing a game where everything is like scenarios in wow but with more empahsis on traps and ambushes and stuff like that.

  20. #20
    WoW often feels like this these days. Questing is mostly solo (and it is often detrimental to group up in certain quests as you have to share your drops.). Group play is in instances. I often think it would be good if WoW just went the whole hog and made the open world instanced. It would be much better for telling the story and preventing kill tagging. It would allow off line play as well. You could still invite people into your phase of the world.
    Disclaimer: No I'm not Alliance. I reserve the right to bat for both factions thank you very much.

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