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  1. #1

    Where are MMOs going next?

    I don't have much evidence to back up my sentiment but the drought of major, classic MMOs coming out in the near future is a sign that the MMO genre is undergoing some significant changes. Payment models have been evolving for years now but the core game-play has only seen some minor iterations.

    I believe the MMO industry knows that the classic WoW/Everquest model has largely run it's course and that something new is required to score big. But nobody's quite sure what that is.

    So I pose a question about what the future of MMOs has in store for us.

    As a reminder, here's some of the more recent evolutions we've seen in some titles.

    -Move towards alternative payment models (F2P, P2P etc.)
    -Breaking down of classic server/realm structures GW2, EVE Online).
    -Some e-sports aspirations (WoW, GW2, possibly others)
    -Focus on cosmetic gear progression.
    -Action combat as opposed to hotkey combat (TERA, GW2, TESO etc.)
    -Emphasis on "personal stories" (SWTOR, GW2)
    -Events replacing quests (Rift, GW2, WAR)

    And there are quite a few more. What trends will continue? Which will die? What else might evolve?


    My take: With there being so many MMO veterans around now I believe we might see the re-emergence of some of the qualities of older MMOs. Personal Stories and similar, single-player focused events take up a lot of resources and are typically only appreciated a few times. While they help draw in new players they contribute fairly little towards actually building a lasting game and community. The success of EVE Online proves this. Sandbox games might not have the initial draw of a more traditional MMO but it pays off in the long run.

    The question is though how willing are modern MMO players to return to some of the more archaic concepts of the past? (Like grinding, real Guild Management etc.)
    Last edited by Dee-Jay Delicious; 2013-01-04 at 07:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Banned JhanZ's Avatar
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    I think most MMOs are going to move to the B2P model. I don't think giants like WoW and the upcoming Titan project will change, they will keep charging $15 because they can.

    Also, I want to add that I hope gameplay doesn't change into this 4-5 button thing where you can "switch out" your spec. This isn't a hack-n-slash, an MMO should have plenty of abilities on-demand at all times regardless of weapon/gear set up, IMO. Just adding that in.

  3. #3
    To score big I think the game need:
    - Everything balanced around PvP (this does not exclude PvE but an encounter can be balanced with the monsters buffs, debuffs and abilitys).
    - Emphasis on "personal stories" (a bit like SWotOR).
    - Focus on cosmetic progression (we've heard and seen the "hate" towards grinding, if you skip leveling/have few levels and focus on cosmetic progression all casual players can logon and play on equal therms with the hardcore players. Hardcore will always be better at the game and manage to overcome greater challanges anyway).
    - Focus content on varity, challange and with sidethings to do which isn't in the "core" of the game (petbattles, rp-items, small solo PvE things etc).
    - Create a community driven content development (like SC2s mapeditor and if the "map" recives enough good reviews etc they implement it).
    (- "Action combat" (mostly something I'd love combined with the above^^).)

    Yes this is what I want, but I also think companys are afraid of this, easier to milk money from something well known then something new. I feel like this is what lies in the future, somewhere
    Well met!

  4. #4
    Look up 21 reasons to like Elder Scrolls Online.

    I, for one, am waiting for that with baited breath.
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  5. #5
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    I think the next big step to MMO's will need to be something way more than just high graphics, etc. Thinks need to move ahead as fast as technology moves forward. Imho, what should come next that would actually have the same effect as WoW would be a VRMMO AKA Sword Art Online(ok, maybe not being a death game as SAO was, but the concept was great as was shown in the next few light novels). Just my 2cents worth.

  6. #6
    I'd say the genre needs to move more towards the sandbox direction of EvE-Online as a base and tack on theme park PvE elements on top of that. Separation of PvP and PvE abilities and talents is another important aspect in EQ based MMOs as well, the constant balancing changes due to them not being able to co-exist is something I think the players are getting more and more fed up with.

    The benefits of the sandbox environment with player created content is to good to ignore as it provides player with content outside of the hand held theme park elements, something that wasn't an issue in the past before all the limitations put on the player to create some sort of equality (adapting the game to the lowest common denominator and people without self control), todays EQ based theme park MMOs cause boredom due to these changes as there is only so much you can do especially during off hours.

    Single world international clusters is another thing I'd say they need to move towards to remove the idea of "prime time", only being able to play with other people certain hours of the day is very destructive to a game in todays globally social world.

    In short much more player freedom with little to no restrictions as far as time spendings for rewards are concerned.

    If any developer dares to go outside the tested concepts before the genre is beaten to death is another matter though.
    Last edited by Redblade; 2013-01-04 at 08:14 AM.
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  7. #7
    Stood in the Fire Zhira's Avatar
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    One thing is certain, MMOs are moving away from being "Raid or GTFO" oriented. Endgame is no longer solely about grinding gear in raids. There is HIGH demand for content that doesn't require you to sit infront our your computer for hours. We see this very clearly in WoW with farming, pet battles, scenarios.

    Also, future raiding is no longer limited to those who have time, but for all who pay to play. We see this with LFR. Whether you like it or not, it's the way to go. It's a VERY little percentage of the WoW population who actually raid hardcore.

    What do I see in the future for WoW:

    -The concept of servers will not disappear, but CRZs will be expanded
    -Guilds will not be limited to servers, but go X-Realm
    -The game will move further away from hardcore raiding concepts, while still keeping hard modes for those who want a more hardcore approach.
    -25 man raiding will be replaced by 10man only content.

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  8. #8
    Moderator Remilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    Single world international clusters is another thing I'd say they need to move towards to remove the idea of "prime time", only being able to play with other people certain hours of the day is very destructive to a game in todays globally social world.
    Ehhh that kind of has to do with time zones, jobs and such, can't really do anything about it. Not to mention physical limitations of servers, and connection latency.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Remilia View Post
    Ehhh that kind of has to do with time zones, jobs and such, can't really do anything about it. Not to mention physical limitations of servers, and connection latency.
    Yet a game like EvE-Online has done just fine with a single server structure for a decade. The ability to play across time zones is what I'm getting at, latency is still an issue but far from as big as it used to be. I play in an international community and there is very little issues as far as latency goes through out the games we play on a regular basis.
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  10. #10
    Moderator Remilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    Yet a game like EvE-Online has done just fine with a single server structure for a decade. The ability to play across time zones is what I'm getting at, latency is still an issue but far from as big as it used to be. I play in an international community and there is very little issues as far as latency goes through out the games we play on a regular basis.
    Depends on the game type. I don't mind a single server, don't know about others. It's not that odd though that some people play cross continents. There have been for different games, will always be. It's just depends on when people are awake.
    Obviously removing the need to make an EU or a US account is great.
    Only issue is just latency and how much that affects game play.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Remilia View Post
    Only issue is just latency and how much that affects game play.
    It's not much of an issue for most games, especially not EQ based theme park MMOs, even less so if the game is made with that taken in to consideration.
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  12. #12
    Moderator Remilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    It's not much of an issue for most games, especially not EQ based theme park MMOs, even less so if the game is made with that taken in to consideration.
    If you go for an action combat game it's going to have a lot of issues, especially in a sandbox world too.

  13. #13
    Were all forgetting the biggest one/s.

    If you do not design a game that can run Smoothly on 4-5 year old machines and still look amazing you won't have a big enough audience.

    Also might wanna have 99% bug free game. Nothing worst than pretty bugs...

    Don't compete with wow.

    I agree single worlds would be good, CRZ imo is the beginning of that.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Remilia View Post
    If you go for an action combat game it's going to have a lot of issues, especially in a sandbox world too.
    I really don't think so, especially if you design it around that concept, you can normalize latency to some degree to limit the impact it would have. Sure some games wouldn't be good to use such a solution in but WoW for example wouldn't suffer much if at all from it, at least not conceptually, it would have other issues with it as it's designed around multiple realms.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by 08nolanni View Post
    I agree single worlds would be good, CRZ imo is the beginning of that.
    The tech already exists. CRZ is an impressive technical feat, but it's sorta a pointless overall feature when you compare it to the single server system that many games use.

  16. #16
    With any luck... BACK to their Ultima Online origins as pure sandbox RPGs.

    This is why I have a slight tiny bit of hope for Everquest NEXT since they've announced they voluntarily scrapped their themepark gameplay in favor of going 100% pure sandbox.

    CRZ/Megaserver tech is only as good if the gameplay can compensate for that many perpetual players at one time. Too many and the players get frustrated and abandon the game. This, of course, can be rectified by having the overworld situation be COOPERATIVE (ES:O/GW2) in nature instead of COMPETETIVE (WoW).
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  17. #17
    The next step in MMOs is clearly starting now. With the rise of "crowd funding" or "blind investing" we have seen a pop up of a bunch of crap. Literally. We have companies using pre-made assets from HeroEngine store or others and they are throwing together some "tech demos", asking for a lot of money and not really having anything to show for it. They start long lists of promised features on launch, yet there is no way to know if their small teams of 5-20 people can even deliver on half (and I doubt it).

    We have exited the phase of "WoW Clones" and are moving slowly into "The age of something new", which is really just whatever can be as different from wow as possible. Why? Because WoW is a sinking ship like the titanic. It was a glorious massive ship, with all the most amazing features and decor, that hit an iceberg and is slowly starting to sink with the player base on board. And I am a Warcraft (not wow) fanboy, who still plays and enjoys the universe. Players are tired of the same ol, and they are looking for something new. So we have a bunch of crap popping up on kickstarter (repopulation, greed mongerer, etc etc) with bland shallow games that promise massive features and use premade models.

    Sure we have a few games coming out like Darkfall, Neverwinter, ArchAge, etc but the general market is moving to anything that doesn't resemble WoW.

    Now as for payment models, subscription will generally always be there whether it's just a flat pay to play, or a free game with pay to play option (planetside2), and this is because of server costs and all. Any game that is strictly free to play, will always be pay2win (maplestory) unless they have a massive ability for cosmetic items (league). Free to play is really just a misnomer, and should be called "free to try" or "pay for more enjoyment".

    I think with SWTOR being a massive piece of crap, TSW slowly going free to play, Tera obviously bombing and Elder Scrolls not really looking that great, we really won't see many AAA mmos coming in the future. There are just way too many games now for MMOs to support a massive team.

  18. #18
    Technology just isnt there yet for anything much better IMO. Sandbox games are amazing, but the problem is if you give players to much power over the world, the world becomes crowded with player-controlled objects and new players can't do anything. Look at Eve, the size of the game world is insane, to the point where a little bit of user-created objects can exist without seeing something around every corner. But then look at WoW, lets say we could build Guild Fortresses, or towers, and had a bunch of places we could put them. They would be full within a day on most servers (even worse if we were all on one server). There simply isn't enough space. When technology improves to the point that we can have amazing amounts of area with a single-server setup (or possibly 1 server per region or something) then we can see an increase in majorly sandbox games. What Eve has is an amazing system (would play it myself if it wasn't so slow paced), but its only viable due to the setting (space), and its amazing amount of game area. Which if I am not mistaken, is not actually all centered on one server, isn't it different servers for different regions? I may be wrong there.

    PS: How is GW2 not a hotkey-oriented game.... It plays very similar to WoW but with less abilities, and everyone has roll instead of just monks.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H3-N9zoI5c Amazing video of 60+ devilsaurs raiding Undercity!


    My God, what a horrible creation. People seeing what they want? Thank God they tried to shy away from that. I know it pisses me off when I'm in an heroic raid, yet in the back of my head all I can think is 'some casual player is playing a heroic dungeon and not wiping.' -Vodkarn

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephire View Post
    To score big I think the game need:
    - Everything balanced around PvP (this does not exclude PvE but an encounter can be balanced with the monsters buffs, debuffs and abilitys).
    - Emphasis on "personal stories" (a bit like SWotOR).
    - Focus on cosmetic progression (we've heard and seen the "hate" towards grinding, if you skip leveling/have few levels and focus on cosmetic progression all casual players can logon and play on equal therms with the hardcore players. Hardcore will always be better at the game and manage to overcome greater challanges anyway).
    - Focus content on varity, challange and with sidethings to do which isn't in the "core" of the game (petbattles, rp-items, small solo PvE things etc).
    - Create a community driven content development (like SC2s mapeditor and if the "map" recives enough good reviews etc they implement it).
    (- "Action combat" (mostly something I'd love combined with the above^^).)

    Yes this is what I want, but I also think companys are afraid of this, easier to milk money from something well known then something new. I feel like this is what lies in the future, somewhere
    They are afraid of it because it has been done and it failed.

    What would be the point of leveling and progressing your character if the main focus was cosmetic rewards? What's the fun in leveling when you learn most of your combat abilities early on in the game and the focus is on action combat? It's fun at the beginning but it becomes redundant very quickly.

    I do agree content variety helps to reach a broader audience. Community driven content has always been a positive for any game I just don't know if it's technically possible for MMOs.

  20. #20
    F2p definitely, people are turned away from mmos because of high playing prices. Remember trying to get your friends to play Wotlk? Yeah dude buy wow for 20, BC for 40 and Wrath for 60, then drop 15 a month. MMos as a gameplay need overhaul, and ingenuity. I believe swtor took some of it in the right direction but the major problem is this. MMos all fundamentally devolve into: target, press a few key, gather loot. You could say an xbox game is the same, but there has to be more attention required in game play then mashing. I don't have a solution. Tera tried to address this in a good way by elimination targeting. But when someone figures out the right way to engage the players we'll see another successful mmo that isnt wow.
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