A smart guy sees through it all
Aug 20, 2008 18:20:56

Ok, after all the bizarre responses, misguided assumptions and fanboy flames I've received over the Warhammer impressions, I finally found someone that not only "got it", but also gave me a rather clear insight on myself. He's pretty dead on, make sure you go read:

SerialGanker: MMOs are Like Pizza

(I'd have left a comment over there, but it required Google/Blogger/OpenID, which makes me begin to ponder the fact that this site requires a login to post comments....ponder ponder)

Submitted by Brent on Aug 20, 2008 18:20:56 CST (comments: 17)


Comments:


'He hit the nail on the head' by Heartless
Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:48:11 CST
Yes, he hit the nail on the head. It has nothing to do with jumping the shark. Just as I tried to state a thousand times over in the other post.


'go read it agian' by darrenl
Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:54:12 CST
...heartless....you don't get it. i can't say it clearer that that. You...don't...get...it.

...end of story



'Can't disagree more.' by Theo
Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:01:33 CST
Surprised by someone like Brent, who like myself has played through the maze of MMO's for almost 10 years now, holds this mantra that War is like WoW or offers little that is new.

I know this, what it does offer are things I have long clamored for and many surprises (see public quests) that I never even considered.

Public quests are flat out cool.

This game does large scale warfare better than any I have played - period.

This game implements open groups and raids for ease of casual grouping without the prelimanary introductions (very nice for open RvR)

The class mechanics in this game - while perhaps not revolutionary - goes further than any previous MMO Iv'e played to at least provide something defining and unique class by class.

Finally, the Tome of Knowledge incorporates a bit of Lotro achievements and takes the simple quest journal further than I ever considered it going - it is genious and only in infancy stage.

For the not so revolutionary but so glad to see category

--I am so thankful this game, like the SOE games and unlike WoW or AoC, has gone with 20+ classes as opposed to the hohum (subjective and personal taste) 12.

--I am refreshed that the manical leveling pace that is the WoW standard has been slowed.



'From Meridian 59 to Warhammer; From Castle Wolfenstein to Halo 3' by Theo
Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:09:46 CST
What are we looking for that is revolutionary?

Has Halo revolutionized FPS gameplay since the days of say doom more than War does from the days of Meridian 59?

Pick any genre and answer a similar question. What would suffice?

Honestly, the greatest revolution in gaming is the Wii and that is because it changed the entire control scheme - yet is casual and at times ignored by hardcore gamers.

Brent, my point is this. The basis of your disappointment should not be limited to War, but every new release under the sun that has the limits of mouse, keyboard, standard bandwidth, etc.

I believe you have now set for yourself a standard that should never find approval with any new release.



'sad but true' by Brent
Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:41:23 CST
@Theo, re: " The basis of your disappointment should not be limited to War, but every new release under the sun that has the limits of mouse, keyboard, standard bandwidth, etc."

- Yep. I have realized this. That's the problem. Future titles resembling this are probably going to be a severe bummer. One could say that WAR is the straw that broke this camels back, but as mentioned, one of the primary reasons this one is particular is irritating and disappointing is that Mythic really does have talented people and a whole ton of resources behind them. If a tiny little studio missed the mark so badly (or hit the mark as it may be) I'd probably find myself more accepting of the result. Thanks for the comments, Theo.



'Consider this...' by Celestian
Submitted on 2008-08-20 20:06:48 CST
Ok, so if you don't think it's a revolutionary game compared to WoW then how about compared to DAoC? If you compare those two it is a massive improvement. The leveling pace, the ways you can spend your time (pve, rvr) amount of quests, the UI improvements (woot addons!) and a kick ass new IP.

Now I realize that some people have certain expectations after EQ2,WoW and LOTRO type games ... but personally I think War is an improvement even on those, specially for those of us that left DAoC for WoW thinking it was going to actually be about RvR.

It's like ST:NG, sure it's still Star Trek but it is a lot better than the old series for some of us.



'Arguing over details' by Sente
Submitted on 2008-08-21 01:30:18 CST
I am a bit surprised that many people keep reiterating details about features in Warhammer Online in this and previous blog entry. To me the posts has not really that much to do with the Warhammer Online title itself.
It is about highlighting a symptom, which in this case Warhammer Online was just the catalyst for Brent.

Where are the titles that tries to capture some piece the roughly 6 billion that do not play MMOs today?
Warhammer Online may do a lot of things better than predecessors, but it is still going for the same old group of players. Or at least those within that group who are generally happy with The Ways Things Are.

Dr Bartle, Raph Koster and others sometime point to the text-based games and that there nothing new under the sun, mostly. And there has certainly been more experiments and attempts taking the concept of virtual worlds/games in different directions than we may see in graphical MMO titles today.






'Sigh ' by twistah
Submitted on 2008-08-21 17:51:56 CST
@Heartless : How you can find the energy to keep discussing this point is beyond me. If you dont _want_ to understand it, no-one can make you get it.

Could you agree that at some point in time, the peak for these "traditional" MMOs is reached?
Right, so just before that peak AND right after that peak there will be alot of people playing these games. Still, after the peak these numbers will fall.

I understood Brent as saying; WAR will create this peak, and after its release the market will change forever. Becase the market is over saturated with the same old same old. And WAR proved that point.

From the urban dictionary: "a term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity."

Crystal to me.



'What Brent Wants' by Sphexish
Submitted on 2008-08-21 18:32:53 CST
Dwarf Fortress Online.

Drag it out of the depths of ASCII purgatory, adjust it for multiplayer, and off we go!



'Dwarf Fortress Online' by Burro
Submitted on 2008-08-21 20:03:30 CST
people I played Wurm online with said it was Dwarf Fortress Online, I haven't played Dwarf fortress though.


'Some thoughts on this' by Nissl
Submitted on 2008-08-21 20:36:24 CST
@Sente/Brent:

There are a number of different peaks and sharks and whatnot we could be discussing here. Being overly literal, I don't think we are going to see a peak in global MMO population any time soon. China is only now coming online, and there's still South America, Africa, the Middle East, etc. to conquer. But I think we are mostly talking about the relatively mature NA/EU market here. Even within this market, the vast majority of players just signed up with WoW. While for someone who has been around from the start WAR may be the game that broke the camel's back, to most of those players, WoW 1.5 probably doesn't sound too bad. The fact that WAR has a different endgame feature set from WoW puts it in a prime position to collect people who want WoW polish, want a new game that makes it much easier to play with their friends, and want more involved PVP than arenas or the same 4 BG maps over and over. Those people will in turn pull new friends into the genre.

But I think we are more discussing the artistic direction of the genre here, or the innovation in the types of social interaction permitted and encourage. I think Brent's core frustration is a subconscious realization that WoW has permanently changed the market. Due to the social network effects, you can only have a few large, successful MMOs. I don't want to get too caught up in speculation about market equilibrium, but I've done my best to estimate numbers and I think it's optimistic to suggest that there can be even 5 major successes in the same space. And to have the polish and diversity of endgame features to compete with WoW, you probably have to spend in the ballpark of $100m.

Reading between the lines, it seems to me that Brent, Bartle, Koster, Sente et al. would like a much more persistent, worldy experience, with player driven economies and crafting. But a user-friendly, low-grind fantasy EVE probably would not have a market for more than 500k-1m subscribers right now. I for one would love to read about and discuss such a game, but I certainly don't have the time to actually play it. A shareholder-driven company like EA is going to pass on a risk like that. Midsize companies that take the risk are going to fail because their polish level can't compete. This will further increase the risk aversion of big players like EA, Blizzard, SOE, Bioware, etc. Most of the important innovations as far as world-MMOs are going to come in niche games for a while, until there are enough proven components to take a risk.

So we are leaving the Golden Age, when each game made a massive advance and the market was dominated by one giant at a time. What now? Well, I for one am going to play WAR and I expect I will enjoy it. I came late to the WoW party and couldn't take the solo grind to catch my friends at the cap. The genre is evolving into a distant cousin of FPS games, with less twitch skill and situational awareness and more strategy and a persistent world to make organizing easy. It's almost like a sport that you can play with friends all over the country, at night, in the comfort of your own home. I don't think the kind of gradual evolution we are settling into is going to hurt the market. I feel like I've seen little new out of FPS games since Half-Life (haven't gotten to portal) and that market seems to still be going strong; I still found time to put a few months into COD4 and Battlefield multiplayer this year. Don't even get me started on sports games.

In sum, I can understand the frustration that's being expressed here. I just think virtual world advocates are going to have to give the Diku-type MMOs another five years to grow the market, to get more people out of the habit of watching TV every night. Give technology more room to improve. The environment simply is not yet ripe for virtual worlds to start to have the sort of significant social impact that seems to animate the dreams of futurists.



'If your friends are playing it - you will play it' by telstar
Submitted on 2008-08-21 23:25:29 CST
If your friends are playing War - you will play it. I heard plenty of podcasters saying AOC was not fun in the beginning and are still playing it because they have a group of friends that are playing it.

Let's be real - we all played WOW for so long because we had friends that played it. We didn't play it for so long because it was amazing. I bet as soon as Beau or Julie start up a podcaster night for Warhammer, Brent will be all into it. It doesn't have to be an amazing game to be fun

Here is the proof - I am now heavily into Wizard 101 because my wife and daughter play. I play the damn game every night now. It's not the game, it's the people you play with that make it fun.

See you in Warhammer
Telstar



'Sadly...' by Fizzleton
Submitted on 2008-08-22 02:03:47 CST
The only thing jumping the shark is VW.

Doesn't make me happy to say... But if Brent is burned out on MMOs, I don't see much long term hope for the podcast in its current form. Especially since he's not just burned out, but now sounds positively disdainful of MMOs.

The genre isn't going anywhere. Most people don't give a rat's keester about a "genre." People don't play genres, they play games. "Moving the genre forward" is as close to a meaningless phrase as you're ever likely see. That sort of thing is just to give people with podcasts and blogs something to talk about. Warhammer will be a hit because thousands (millions?) of people will find the game fun... and those folks wouldn't give ya two copper for all your fancy talk of genres.

Brent's reaction makes sense in hindsight tho. Always jumping from game to game. Studying the minutia of each new release and comparing things across games that were never meant to be compared. Always in betas.. always having to come up with pseudo intellectual observations.. all because of some GAMES? Good grief... Who wouldn't get burned out...

Enjoying a game is more like a relationship. I don't care who ya are... Your spouse isn't always that attractive first thing in the morning... and your best first sometimes has bad breath and forgets to return your tools. But if you spend all your time analyzing and commenting on each little blemish in your relationships.. you'll soon find yourself alone... and probably insane.

That sort of penetration is violent and destructive. In a healthy relationship you use a bit of imagination, put on a happy face, and you lie a bit. And you hope that others will do the same in turn for you. And a game is the same way. If you put some effort in, you make it fun. Put it under a microscope and you destroy it.



'play together' by Sente
Submitted on 2008-08-22 03:52:48 CST
@Nissl:

I am not advocating a more "wordly" experience or that the games should be in a particular way. I do hope in more variation in terms of encouraging people to play together. And with people I do not mean only those with similar level of interest and commitment in computer games.

And certainly not that there should be one game that should try to fill all of that time.

E.g. I can play one game with family and kids perhaps, another with friends that are at lot into games, a third with other friends who barely game etc.

The traditional level-based MMOs are generally only viable for some people in that sense.
They may be great for that group, but not more.



'Forget WAR' by redavni
Submitted on 2008-08-22 04:17:23 CST
In my mind, the question becomes...how do we get Vanguard to the point that Brent and the rest of us have a real game to play? :)

I am considering hiring ninja's to break into SOE, steal the game, and make it open source. Lot's of really cheap ninja's...like hundreds of them.




'Pondering something' by Guosi
Submitted on 2008-08-22 04:20:47 CST
I read both blog entries from Brent and although I liked them both I was more interested in the comments. I am not a blogger, just a gamer and read a lot of blogs.

Reading the comments something strikes me:

When a blogger writes a positive review about WAR (or AoC because there it happenend too) a lot of people agree in the comments and some disagree (openedge, I love your comments).

Now a blogger comes a long and writes his opinion about the game (which are negative) and he gets prosecueted like he told a dirty joke to the spanish inquisition.

I am no blogging expert but as far as I understand it, a blog is used to broadcast your own thoughts and opinions about random subjects (in this case MMO's). How can it be that because someone who vents his opinion about a game, and mind you he writes its ok but nothing special, he gets burned to the ground. I read comments saying: this is fail, this is a bad review...

I then can just wonder about those commenters. There are hundreds of blogs praising WAR into the heavens and now one (yes 1!) blogger write: meh, I expect it to do good, but I didnt find it fun. All hell breaks loose.

Reminds me a bit of the environmental mafia (don't claim anything different or you will be burned like a witch).

ps. excuse my English I am Dutch.



'I don't get how you guys can miss the point by so much' by Eli
Submitted on 2008-08-22 23:26:06 CST
Three things:
Special Mechanics for each class.
Tactics
Morale

Play longer than lvl 8 and you'll see what makes WAR so radically different. The PQs are fourth on my list.

Eli




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