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  1. #1
    I am Murloc! Selastan's Avatar
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    Will There Ever Be a MMORPG Without a Combat Focus?

    So...I love the idea of the MMORPG. A fantasy world where you can leave your old life behind and live in a new, more fantastic reality. Trouble is, every single one wants to be an action RPG first. They might not start off that way, but the longer the games go on, the more they gravitate to skill-based action RPGs with a focus on endgame-instanced content.

    It happened with WoW, of course. Torghast was an eye-opener for me. I expected a mode like Hades, where I could make endless progress and eventually power my way through. But Blizzard decided to make every run start with a blank slate, and nerfed any power that seemed too good. Like everything else, it became a test of skill in combat.

    Now, I'm not too upset about WoW. War is in the title, of course it's going to focus on that. What I AM upset about...is Old School Runescape. My old go-to for my escapism. While there was very little to do that didn't result in a fight, fighting was always...easy. You right clicked on the thing, and as long as you were leveled and equipped right it died. Sometimes you ate if things got dicey. That's all it took for players who loved crafting to do what they did. They didn't need to master tick manipulation, flinching, or prayer flicking. But as the game went on and more players voted in new content, there was always a trend. New Dungeons, new bosses, new master level quests, all get voted in. But new skills? Not once.

    It gets even worse with newer MMORPGs, like Black Desert, Final Fantasy XIV, and ESO. These games are almost entirely combat focused, they feature real-time dodging and character positioning. I'm not saying I'm bad at these things, and these games need to be dumbed down. I love Dark Souls, and have done complete playthroughs of Dark Souls III and its DLC more than 20 times by now. I just go to MMOs for different reasons. If it's a real RPG with a living online world, why is the only role one can play 3 different flavors of world-saving hero? What about those who want to be blacksmiths, or innkeepers, or horse breeders, or merchants, or potion brewers? Will these ever be treated as more than a side-job? Can we not have an RPG made for someone other than the hyper ADHD crowd who quit if they haven't slain a world-eating demon lord every five seconds?

  2. #2
    I could swear i ran into a couple of them over the years; Second Life for instance?

  3. #3
    I am Murloc! Selastan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zmagoslav View Post
    I could swear i ran into a couple of them over the years; Second Life for instance?
    Second Life never really was an MMORPG. Just a chatroom with player-generated content. Like VR-Chat without the VR.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think the closest thing would be Eve Online, but it's kind of...hard to get invested in.

  4. #4
    There is also focus on combat in eve online. It's just so much more also.

  5. #5
    Sounds like you just want minecraft or one of the harvest moon clones with multiplayer.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dope_danny View Post
    Sounds like you just want minecraft or one of the harvest moon clones with multiplayer.
    Seems more like he's not against there being combat, just that combat should only be an option and not an inevitability. Something like being a roaming merchant and you can hire players to do the fighting for you when you travel unsafe roads to the next town to sell your wares. Something like that, I guess?
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  7. #7
    Many, many highly ambitious MMOs have tried the whole "players dictate everything, including crafting and commerce" implying that those that have wanted to focus on non-combat elements of the game should have been more than able to, but so far, each of them has failed. There's another new one that's promising the world and more, can't remember the name of it... Ashes of something another? Maybe that one will succeed, but I've been waiting for such an MMO to succeed for the greater part of 20 years now and none of them has.

  8. #8
    It's a shame that Ever, Jane closed down last month. That MMO certainly had no combat, it was all RP.

    eta You might want to look into the Star Wars Galaxies emulators out there, you could play that MMO without ever engaging in combat as well. I fondly remember my time as a doctor in the Anchorhead cantina.
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  9. #9
    Stood in the Fire
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    Any MMO rises and falls with the playerbase. It's much like any group activity. If there are people within the group not engaged in the group effort, the whole group fails. But the mentality of most if not all western countries is personal gain and immediately gratification.

    So, any MMO without being combat driven would still have combat mechanics. And if the playerbase is large enough, you will have a few players there thinking "Why should I grind for ressources, when I can kill that miner guy and take it. Or that merchant?"

  10. #10
    I am Murloc! Selastan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dope_danny View Post
    Sounds like you just want minecraft or one of the harvest moon clones with multiplayer.
    Honestly, Minecraft with official Mojang moderated servers would be perfect.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Calfredd View Post
    Seems more like he's not against there being combat, just that combat should only be an option and not an inevitability. Something like being a roaming merchant and you can hire players to do the fighting for you when you travel unsafe roads to the next town to sell your wares. Something like that, I guess?
    Kind of. I get that fantasy blacksmiths would probably have to go fight whatever is guarding the really rare treasure. It's just that going to the ultimate dungeons to fight literal gods in order to unlock the best gear to craft like WoW does...not so much. Stardew Valley wasn't bad, honestly. That but open world and more things to do other than farming.

  11. #11
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    I think if WoW got housing, it'd help with this

    I see dead people.... Yes, kinda my ting, ya know

  12. #12
    I am Murloc! Selastan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neuroticaine View Post
    Many, many highly ambitious MMOs have tried the whole "players dictate everything, including crafting and commerce" implying that those that have wanted to focus on non-combat elements of the game should have been more than able to, but so far, each of them has failed. There's another new one that's promising the world and more, can't remember the name of it... Ashes of something another? Maybe that one will succeed, but I've been waiting for such an MMO to succeed for the greater part of 20 years now and none of them has.
    It doesn't even have to be a pure player economy. The player can sell their crafted goods to NPCs or whatever, too. I just wanna see a game where, during character creation, alongside warrior and thief and wizard, you can pick carpenter or potion maker. Instead of leveling your character to ultimate wield the god-killing sword and save the universe, you just make a character that can make really good items. You get new tools like the warrior gets new swords. Instead of learning 'fireball' you learn 'transmute gold'. You get brought along in parties not because you can fight, but because your class is Historian or something and you can detect traps or secret passages that make clearing dungeons quicker and these guys are overgeared and in a hurry.

    I'm reminded of the quest 'The White Phial' in Skyrim. This guy spent his whole life searching for a mystical vial. He learned history and alchemy, and tracked it down to a cave in Skyrim. Getting that Vial was his version of slaying Alduin. What makes his quest any less important? Sometimes people want to be the greatest 'something' in the land, and that isn't always heroic adventurer. Certainly games can play to that fantasy alongside the mighty warrior one, right?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwonsamdi the Dead View Post
    I think if WoW got housing, it'd help with this
    It really would. The only REAL progression in WoW is gear progression. If they implemented a full housing system, getting the best house would overtake getting the best gear.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Selastan View Post
    So...I love the idea of the MMORPG. A fantasy world where you can leave your old life behind and live in a new, more fantastic reality. Trouble is, every single one wants to be an action RPG first. They might not start off that way, but the longer the games go on, the more they gravitate to skill-based action RPGs with a focus on endgame-instanced content.

    It happened with WoW, of course. Torghast was an eye-opener for me. I expected a mode like Hades, where I could make endless progress and eventually power my way through. But Blizzard decided to make every run start with a blank slate, and nerfed any power that seemed too good. Like everything else, it became a test of skill in combat.

    Now, I'm not too upset about WoW. War is in the title, of course it's going to focus on that. What I AM upset about...is Old School Runescape. My old go-to for my escapism. While there was very little to do that didn't result in a fight, fighting was always...easy. You right clicked on the thing, and as long as you were leveled and equipped right it died. Sometimes you ate if things got dicey. That's all it took for players who loved crafting to do what they did. They didn't need to master tick manipulation, flinching, or prayer flicking. But as the game went on and more players voted in new content, there was always a trend. New Dungeons, new bosses, new master level quests, all get voted in. But new skills? Not once.

    It gets even worse with newer MMORPGs, like Black Desert, Final Fantasy XIV, and ESO. These games are almost entirely combat focused, they feature real-time dodging and character positioning. I'm not saying I'm bad at these things, and these games need to be dumbed down. I love Dark Souls, and have done complete playthroughs of Dark Souls III and its DLC more than 20 times by now. I just go to MMOs for different reasons. If it's a real RPG with a living online world, why is the only role one can play 3 different flavors of world-saving hero? What about those who want to be blacksmiths, or innkeepers, or horse breeders, or merchants, or potion brewers? Will these ever be treated as more than a side-job? Can we not have an RPG made for someone other than the hyper ADHD crowd who quit if they haven't slain a world-eating demon lord every five seconds?
    I mean, WoW still offers:
    Auction House game.
    Profession Play.
    Farmer.
    Quest-Completer.
    Pet-Battler.
    Roleplayer.

    Of which I think the last one is propably worth a shot for you?
    MMORPG's usually have combat and stats to make combat easier. MMO shooters is the same but with guns.
    MMORacers (I forgot the name) would be about car progression and well... Races. So there's likely a game out there for you? But it always depends hoe big your nieche really is to warrant an MMO instead of just a multiplayer game ala Monster Hunter or Deep Rock Galactic.
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  15. #15
    I am Murloc! Selastan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordTakeo View Post
    I mean, WoW still offers:
    Auction House game.
    Profession Play.
    Farmer.
    Quest-Completer.
    Pet-Battler.
    Roleplayer.

    Of which I think the last one is propably worth a shot for you?
    MMORPG's usually have combat and stats to make combat easier. MMO shooters is the same but with guns.
    MMORacers (I forgot the name) would be about car progression and well... Races. So there's likely a game out there for you? But it always depends hoe big your nieche really is to warrant an MMO instead of just a multiplayer game ala Monster Hunter or Deep Rock Galactic.
    WoW does offer those things, but it's all second-fiddle. You can't PROGRESS at it. It's side content. You're not an adventuring artisan, you're the legendary Maw Walker destined to save the universe who also makes potions on the side. As for RPing, it can be fun, but there's no GAME there. You can say you're a legendary armorsmith or whatever, but in reality you are crafting the same things a mythic raider does as a side job.

    And yes, It does have to be an MMORPG. That's kind of the point. Single-player games are nice and all, but MMOs have always promised living worlds where you can be or do anything, and they never deliver. It's clearly a fantasy a lot of people share. We see it all the time in all the 1,000 different 'trapped in an mmo' isekai anime out there. Some people just want to open a shop. If these writers are designing their fake games like this, then these must be the kind of games they, too, want to play. There IS demand. And it isn't like traditional MMO fans would be turned off either. It's not like I'm asking for Fantasy DayJob World or anything. You can still have a combat system that is highly rewarding and create end-game content that tests builds and skill, just like WoW does, I'm just hoping developers build that game where classes without many combat abilities exist in support roles.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Stormwolf64 View Post
    There is also focus on combat in eve online. It's just so much more also.
    You can do other stuff, but it depends on what you mean by combat. I really like doing a lot of 'high risk non combatant' stuff, like blockade running and exploration and such, but you do have to deal with people getting after you.

  17. #17
    To infinity and beyond det's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spaceboytg View Post
    It's a shame that Ever, Jane closed down last month. That MMO certainly had no combat, it was all RP.

    eta You might want to look into the Star Wars Galaxies emulators out there, you could play that MMO without ever engaging in combat as well. I fondly remember my time as a doctor in the Anchorhead cantina.
    Sounds like companies tried but not enough paying customers are interested?

  18. #18
    Would be cool, yeah!

    You'd need a good way of co-operation between different groups though. For instance, you might want to gain access to a rare mineral so you need to bring a miner with you who can fight but not dish out nearly as much damage as a propper soldier. The mobbs defending the mineral are aware what the players are after and will do everything to slow them down and murder them, they might also try to focus down the miner so it's vital to protect him/her.

    Though the mining system can't just be as in WoW. It has to be more sophisticated. Combat is diverse with movement, timings and a plethora of abilities. Minning should be as complex as that but from a miner perspective.

    Main thing is that combat is easy for everyone to understand and done so many times that we know what to expect. Non-combat proffessions not so much (except some, like similation games such as Stardew Valley).

    And then it comes down to how you combine all groups.

    BTW, Torghast are a bit like Hades where you progress via the Maw and upgrade your runs for Stygia. Not close, I know, but a little :P
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  19. #19
    Play ultima online. Full crafter character. You make stuff people who combat or furniture for houses etc. So many possibilities.
    There is still one big community, free server.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Selastan View Post
    Honestly, Minecraft with official Mojang moderated servers would be perfect.
    Well not just vanilla minecraft but theres plenty of mods that add significant amounts of depth and new systems including heavy rpg overhauls that still focus on crafting.
    http://theeorzeanfrontier.blogspot.co.uk/ Neckbeard rambling about this weeaboo trash

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