Anti MMO Rant why can't I play as Optimus Prime?

Discussion in 'MMO Design and Virtual Worlds' started by Valcien, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. Valcien

    Valcien New Member

    So when DC Universe Online was announced, I thought for sure players would be able to play as Supes, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc.
    I was actually really surprised when it turned out they weren't doing that at all. You simply can't ever play as any established DC character. Can only make your own.
    Um what's the point then?

    This is deeply mysterious to me.

    -Why is it so taboo for some players to have something that others cannot?

    -Why is it so taboo for players to play as established characters?

    -Why do MMOs have to be fair?

    You can't even create-uh a Green Lantern or a Kryptonian. There's like a Hojillion of em'. All you can do is make a knockoff.

    I played a MUD where if you had Excalibur you were likely to get inst-ganked as soon as someone found out or found you because naturally everyone wanted it, and it was super fun. No one seemed to have a problem with the idea that there was only one Excalibur. Oh my gosh we can't all get Excaliburs not fair Aaaaarblarblarble.
  2. Boco

    Boco Member

    What happens if I get Excalibur but then I make a new character and never use the one who has it? Now there are 0 Excaliburs.
  3. Rokmo

    Rokmo New Member

    What if there's a tournament and the guy happened to win a once in a lifetime GM event and has gear with twice the stats you do?
  4. pictish

    pictish Member

    Is the take home message of this topic that MMOs, as a rule, are too fair and equal?

    That was not my experience with them.
  5. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Usually it's a story thing. It's much better in an MMO for them to have, say, a superman quest line, where you assist him, but he's an NPC. And then there's a green lantern quest line, and you can still play it with the same character.

    Solves all the issues where everything the player needs to know can be told to them by the NPC character, and they're play options don't have to be limited by needing to do things in the particular way that character would have done them.
  6. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    Current answer to topic question:
    Because player characters may not be Optimus Prime.

    Answer to topic question, under relaxed ruleset:
    Because someone else already picked Optimus Prime. Probably the same guy that likes to tell dick jokes in trade chat.
  7. Jobber

    Jobber Active Member

    I signed up for the DCUO beta, and I don't even like MMORPG's.

    For story reasons, it makes sense that there aren't 52,000 Batmen out there. From a design point of view, by controlling what powers the players can have, you don't have to have the headache of trying to translate some of those comic book powers into a playable video game character. Just look at the mess every single Superman game has been; none of them can create the feeling of being Superman, hence the games suck. Also, striving for balance in an MMORPG probably exists for the same reason designers strive for balance in a fighting game.

    That said, I sort of agree with your frustration. If you can't be your favorite DC hero, it defeats some of the purpose of playing a DCU game. I just hope whatever storylines in the game are half decent.
  8. XDarkAngelX

    XDarkAngelX Member

    Well it's been a while but I think I remember DC Online having a PvP mode where you play established heroes and villains against one another. You just can't use them in PvE mode.
  9. Valcien

    Valcien New Member

    There are solutions to every problem, Im sure.

    (in the MUD Excalibur went to it's resting place if not used frequently enough, and if used just barely frequently enough, you were on people's shitlist, you'd get ganked, or players pressured the sysops on a couple occasions to reset Excalibur)

    I guess the real answer is, this would eat up a lot of development time ($$) trying to solve all the myriad problems involved, whereas going the safe established way means using all the solutions that have already been thought up.

    I mean off the top of my head all the one of a kind items could be balanced with whatever the best purple** you could possibly have is.
    Another way is, make a game mode of PvP where you can't use one-of-a-kinds.

    (**haven't played a MMO except a few hours of WoW and Guild Wars so excuse my noobness)

    For the record though, DCU was an example, I don't really care about playing as Bats or whatever. It's just amazing that it will never, ever happen the way that, logically, seems the most holy shit fun.

    Another example to more refine the point I'm trying to make is, for about a month there was a bridge that was the only way to get to a specific area.

    These really high level guys with no lives who could afford to have at least enough members online at any one to time to gank practically ANYONE just didn't let anyone use the bridge.

    Now this was lots of fun in terms of mythology, it seemed extremely epic, and these players became a sort of boss. The Sysops seemed like they took forever to even make a decision about it.

    I'll admit at the time I wanted the sysops to just make them all spontaniously pop. What did end of happening was, a friend of a friend ganked his clanmate, took Excalibur, and tried to take the bridge with a possy of high levels. Naturally, it didn't work, and now the assholes had Excalibur too!

    The combination of the other super super high levels in the game (who hadn't been very active up to that point) wanting Excalibur and the internal strife of such a mid level character (compared to his clanmates) having scooped up Excalibur before anyone could notice, lead to their downfall and it became the talk of legends.
    The bridge was retaken and an alternate route was established, but unnessesarily, as the bridge was never taken again.

    So when I play MMOs and we kill the guy who was killed like a few minutes ago by some other dudes, and a thousand times before that, and will be a thousand time after that, I look at MUDs and MUSHes, that spawned the genre, and I think, the technology getting better makes the game much more boring. What happened?

    That being said, I know people who only play team PvP on WoW and that stuff does sound hella fun, I just wouldn't spend the time and money required to get to that point.
  10. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    The concept of playing as an established character in the setting still doesn't make any sense to me. I mean, that's specifically not what an MMO is for. A cool game like that would be, you know, a Diablo 2 clone or something... where you can spend a lot of time online, and grouped up with friends, but you don't have a permanent established role in the world.

    In terms of all the other stuff mentioned... that stuff is rather simple, really. It's because new MMOs are not even trying to appeal to hardcore players. It'd just be a death sentence, people who wanted that stuff got it... there's guys still playing Ultima Online or whatever if they still want to experience it. WoW gets close if you play on the PvP servers, but the PvE servers constitute a much larger percentage of their players, which is really the point...

    Most people just don't want to have their progress impeded by a large group of high-level players that they can't possibly do anything about. What they do want to do is be able to play the game with friends at a pace of their choosing, and still have the option to interact with everyone else, but only at certain times, and only on their own terms.

    To put it another way, as you said, the bridge example was done by players "with no life". And allowing that sort of stuff to happen basically makes everyone with a life feel like they can't do anything effective in the game to keep up, and so they quit. And allowing that much larger group of less active players to continue playing and having fun is more important than increasing player control over the gameworld in the way you're suggesting.
  11. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    I agree with your post, except that there is an established market for hardcore mmos so it's not a death sentence.

    Darkfall, Mortal Online, Eve Online, UO are all still going and all can probably be classified as hardcore. There's also other MMOs like Lineage 2 where (at least way back when) only a prominent guild leader could get a flying mount and castles & guild houses were a fixed and limited resource. Sure it's a niche audience, but it's an audience none the less.
  12. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    I guess it depends on the investment. I think it is a death-sentence in the world of large 3-d graphic MMOs like WoW, FFXIV, DCU, etc...

    I believe there was a quote from a producer on the warhammer MMO that was something like "At one point we were bringing in over 2 million dollars a month, and yet the game was still judged to be a colossal failure". You can't afford those margins by courting the established markets.

    But you're right, lower the production values a bit, or do some other unique cool thing (I'm looking at you, Eve Online >.>), and it can work out quite well.
  13. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Agreed! Making a niche product with the production values of a mainstream blockbuster is not a good idea.

    The great thing about MMOs is if you build them right you can ramp up the production values (See EvE Online) due to good coding and continued support from your player base.

    You can also see non-MMO examples like DF and Minecraft for how that can work.
  14. Rokmo

    Rokmo New Member

    The problem with this is that in MMO's there really is only one way to do things. One quest line, one thing stopping players from advancing, etc...

    If MMO's are to change, players need open ended quests and things that make them feel more than just a multi-player game. Persistence is not a term to be used for any MMO, save for a game like Eve or FoM. A persistent universe is not WoW or Warhammer online or any other MMO like that. The reason is due to players don't change the game.

    For example, in EvE there are a LOT of different things that players can do that appeal to different kinds of players. In contrast, WoW you just grind THEN defeat some bosses or PvP. There is nothing that really changes and doing cool things just doesn't happen all that often. In EvE ther eare things like corporations having spies, blobs, building an empire, etc..

    Players should feel like not only is the world changing around them (like in expansions), but that they themselves change it and are effecting it. A persistent MMO should be more like an interactive world, not a game. By making an MMO like this, you don't bottle neck players and situations like this wouldn't happen as often.
  15. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    What? Like, seriously... I so much don't understand what you're saying. The whole point of the genre is the massive amount of stuff players can do.

    Take WoW... you can just kill stuff solo... you can quest solo... you can quest in groups... you can do dungeons in groups... you can craft... you can do world PvP... you can do battlefield PvP... you can do Arenas... you can sit in a city and chat... the options are limitless.

    Okay, not really... and yeah, crafting and PvP brackets both require a certain of xp from killing stuff at some point.

    But I can't think of any situation where there's really such a constraint such as "only one quest line", unless you're talking early game like the Death Knight quest, or late game, like raid key quests...

    I don't agree with that either. WoW has lots of persistent features... for example, auction house contents. Okay... I can't think of many more, but it's a big one. There's also the fake persistency in their expansion areas... contents of a zone will actually change, for you personally, as more and more quests get completed.

    Heck, I don't even like WoW, I don't know why I'm defending it... but I like games that are similar enough that I think you'd group them together.

    I just can't agree with this either. The problem is exposure of players. WoW's big advantage is that everyone's experience is completely consistent. You don't have some people frustrated because some high-level guy decides to kill them (at least, not without them knowingly exposing themselves to the possibility), while someone else never sees anything interesting happen.

    Of course, by "interesting", I'm specifically disagreeing with your claim that nothing cool ever happens without player control over the situation. I don't know if it mattered much in WoW either way, but in FFXI it was a big deal, since that game actually contains what is essentially a single-player storyline with cutscenes and everything.

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